Heat Stroke + Dogs: What to Look For & How to Handle It

Summer’s here and with it, rising temperatures. Of course you want to hang outside with your furry BFF—the weather is perfect for hiking, swimming, camping, and so much more. While you’re outside enjoying yourself, be aware that the heat also affects your dog. Here’s what you need to watch for and how to cool your hot dog down.

Dog panting in the sun

Signs and Symptoms to Look For

Just like humans, our pooches can overheat and suffer from heat stroke. Dogs do exhibit certain signs and symptoms when heat stroke sets in. Because dogs only have sweat glands in their paws, they can’t cool themselves down by sweating. Instead, dogs pant to cool themselves; but when the temperature of the air isn’t much cooler than the dog’s body temperature, panting does little good.

Some of the most common signs of heat stroke in dogs include:

  • Excessive panting
  • Increased heart rate
  • Excessive salivation
  • Pale or gray gums
  • Weakness or dizziness
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea

Preventing heat stroke in dogs is fairly easy. Here are a few ways you can keep your dog from overheating this summer.

Puppy drinking from bowl outside

Keep it Cool

For dogs that spend a lot of time outdoors, lots of fresh, cool water is a priority. Dehydration can be dangerous on a hot day regardless of how active your pooch is. A continual source of fresh, cool water is essential—there are plenty of products you can buy to help make it easy, ranging from dog fountains to self-watering devices that attach to your outdoor faucet. Make sure water bowls are large, can’t be tipped and emptied (opt for a bowl with a wide-base), kept in a shady area, and replenished frequently.

Find Shade

Another way to help your dog beat the heat is adequate shade. Your backyard makes for a tempting romping area, and your pooch needs someplace cool and shady to chill out. Too much time in the sun can lead to heat exhaustion and sunburn, so access to a shade tree or access to under a deck is key to continual summer fun. Other considerations include an insulated doghouse that’s well ventilated, a canopy or a doggie door into your house so he can access the A/C whenever he needs it.

Dog in kiddie pool

Pool Party

This is a fun and creative ways to help your little guy stay cool. A molded plastic kiddie pool is the perfect size (and price) for dogs. Keep it filled with cool water in a shady part of the yard and change the water regularly to avoid mosquito breeding grounds. Most dogs love to splash in the water to cool off but if your pooch is small, or a Bulldog, make sure you supervise him or keep the water level to just a couple of inches.

Cool Beds

In the summer, you’ll notice your furbaby is searching out a patch of grass, dirt or a freshly dug hole. Yes, they may be keeping him cooler, but definitely not cleaner! But his bed is probably too warm in the heat. There are a variety of cooling dog beds, some made out of gel inserts or ones you keep in the freezer for a couple of hours. Whichever you choose, having one handy while outside will help keep the heat in check.

By: Amy Tokic

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