Hot Dog: How To Prevent And Treat Heat Stroke In Dogs

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Dog panting in hot car (caption: Heat Stroke In Dogs prevention & treatment)Warm weather is idealistic for pet owners to enjoy the outdoors with man’s best friend. It’s tempting to take Fido with you to run errands and on family trips. But what happens when they become too hot? As the temperature rises, dog owners must be aware of the potential warning signs of dog heat stroke and how to prevent it before it’s too late.

Article Overview

Symptoms & Signs of Heat Stroke in Dogs: What To Look For

While dog’s fur serves as great protection during the winter, many dog owners may not be aware that their dog’s fur can be fatal in the heat of warmer months.

Panting, can often be mistaken for excitement during a game of catch or the joy of seeing you. However, owners must be aware that this is a sign that dogs may be too hot and could potentially be suffering from a heat stroke. If a dog is sick, he or she will pant, and it could signify that they have a heart problem.

Illness, allergic reaction, dehydration and poisoning are other very important signs to watch out for. They also could be suffering from pneumonia and/or respiratory problems. Vomiting or lethargy could be signs of poisoning or a severe allergic reaction. You will need to look out for this especially if your dog is on any type of medication.

Treatment: How To Help Your Dog During Heat Stroke

Dog fur is equivalent to a human coat. Imagine wearing a jacket when it’s 100 degrees outside. You might have a heat stroke yourself! We can take a layer off if we get too hot, but dogs can’t. So what do they do to help bring their temperature down and cool off?

By panting, dogs are able to cool down by circulating air through their bodies. They can also reduce their body temperature by drinking or swimming in water.

If you notice your dog excessively panting when it is hot, you should move your dog indoors to a cool spot immediately and provide water. If it persists, please seek the help and expertise of a trained veterinarian.

Dog Heat Stroke Prevention

If you believe that your dog is suffering from a heat stroke, you must treat it as a medical emergency and immediately seek help. Be aware of your dog’s behavior, especially in the heat, by making sure that when you see any signs of struggle you do whatever is possible to help them cool off.

If you have an immediate emergency where you cannot contact a pet hospital, here are the steps you should take to cool your dog down:

  1. Give your dog water to drink and allow him to drink as much as it wants. Add just a pinch of salt to the water to help the dog replace minerals it lost due to panting. And then keep an eye on your dog to make sure it can get outside if it needs to urinate. Check out these dog water bottles designed specifically for pups with a dispenser attached.
  2. Place a cold pack on your dog’s head to help lower its body temperature. But do not leave it on for more than a few minutes at a time.
  3. Run a cool bath for your dog; you don’t want it to be cold because it can cause shock. Be sure to keep your dog’s head elevated in order to prevent aspiration pneumonia.
  4. You can also use a garden hose to cool the dog down if a bath is not an option. But make sure the hose water is cool too.

Don’t Leave Your Dog In The Car

Not only are natural causes responsible for heat stroke in dogs, but the carelessness of owners are the direct result of dog heat stroke as well. Don’t ever leave your dog in the car while it’s hot! Leaving a dog in a hot environment is a common cause of heat stroke. If you must leave your dog in the car when it’s hot, make sure it is receiving some type of air and make it quick.

If you must leave your pup in the car for any reason, we recommend getting a temperature monitor that keeps track of the temp inside your car and alerts your phone when it’s approaching dangerous conditions. The RV PetSafety monitor works without WiFi, simply put inside your vehicle or RV and it uses T-mobile or A&T’s 3G network to communicate with your Apple or Android phone when you’re away. There is a backup rechargeable battery and you can add up to five emails or phone numbers to get notified when the temp is unsafe.

PSA Video: Call 911 If You See A Dog In A Hot Car

Remember, you are your dog’s best friend! So it is your responsibility to take care of your pet that you welcomed into your family. Your dog is depending on you to help keep them safe, so make sure that you’re able to take measures to prevent heat stroke, recognize the symptoms, and understand how to best treat your dog in the midst of a heat stroke.

Sources: PetMD and

Dog in a hot car

Fun In The Sun

Looking for fun things to do with your dog in the summer? Check out this travel guide. And if your pup spends a lot of time on concrete in the heat, you might consider getting booties to protect their paws from burning and sunscreen to prevent sunburn.

Has your dog suffered from a heat stroke before?

About The Author:

Sadie graduated from the Moody School of Communications at the University of Texas at Austin with a Bachelors in Advertising and minor in Business. Her love of pets started from an early age with her childhood cocker spaniel, Peanut, and cats Lucy and Tabby. She is currently dog mom to Lexie, a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel.

As a professional dog sitter for more than a decade, Sadie has cared for dozens of canines of various breeds, sizes and temperaments. The responsibility of caring for others' pets has helped her understand the importance of giving animals a loving home. She has experience potty and house training as well as teaching dogs tricks such as sit and shake. Sadie is passionate about canine well-being so she feeds her pup all-natural meals and no table scraps. Carrots and sweet potatoes are her picks for healthy treat alternatives.

Sadie and her husband live in Washington DC and enjoy walking Lexie to nearby dog parks or patios and taking her canine companion on trips. Having an adventurous, long-haired Blenheim means frequent baths and home grooming to maintain a clean coat. A small dog also requires more frequent dental care and Sadie is proactive with Lexie's oral hygiene.

She has been covering dog-related topics since 2012 and is proud to share her latest personal experience, resources and information with fellow pet parents.

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Robin Sheppard

I think my dog had a heat stroke. I left him outside for a few (20) minutes to pee. When I got back, he was on his side with his tongue hanging out of his mouth. My friend brought him inside. We poured cool water on him but he was unresponsive. His tongue turned blue. I got some cool towels and placed them on him. He then began having seizures. His body became stiff. His eyes closed and then he stopped breathing. I’m not sure what happen but I’m heartbroken.

Kimberly Alt (Admin)

Oh Robin, I’m so sorry. I can’t imagine what you’re going through. A dog’s tongue can turn blue when there is inadequate oxygen in the blood. It sounds like your dog could’ve suffered a heat stroke, but I cannot diagnose anything since I’m not a licensed vet. Again, I am so sorry for your loss. You may find comfort in our article about dealing with the death of a dog.

Michelle taylorr

NO thank goodness. Corgi’s and he is a pure bread normal up until he was 10 years old had a normal corgi coat. He is now 11 years old. I will describe it as medium smooth coat. Corgi’s do have an undercoat. It seems last year his coat got thicker. He is a sable but I’ve had a tri’s develop a heavy coats as well after 10 years of age. They are not of the same blood line. Brushing does not help! Bath does not help other than make him smell good. I’ve had this happen with other corgi’s in the past, not that I ever had a heat stroke (don’t want one), I’m just trying to prevent this boy from going there.

We do walks either early or late in the day to avoid the heat. We live in South Central Pennsylvania and yes it does get sultry here. It normally happens in the vehicles even though I run the a/c on Max. We NEVER leave him alone in the vehicle but with degrees 60+ it’s necessary one of us stay in the vehicle with the dogs as they go everywhere with us. It might just be he thinks he can go along in to i.e. a doctors office, etc. When he’s with me waiting in the vehicle he has a more calm demeanor so the panting may be brought on by anxiety.


This is a great article and something that all dog owners should take into consideration before bringing their dog out in the summer heat. Please don’t leave your dog in the car while it’s blistering hot out! Great tips!

Mary C.

My dog foot pads are very dry and rough to touch. What can I do to soften them or should I be concern? We have very hot temperatures and I don’t know what it feels like or looks like if her foot pads get blistered?

Kimberly Alt (Admin)

I suggest calling your vet and asking what you should do for your dog to help her if need be. When temperatures are hot, it’s best to put some boots on your dog to prevent injury. Check out these boots for your dog when it’s hot outside.