Signs on Heatstroke: Keep Your Pets Safe This Summer

Hot dog in water bowl

Protect Your Pets from Heatstroke This Summer

Hot, humid summer days could mean trouble for your pets if they become overheated. High temperatures and humidity levels increase your pet's risk of developing heatstroke, a potentially deadly condition.

What Is Heatstroke?

Heatstroke occurs when your pet's body temperature rises dangerously high. A temperature of 102.2 degrees or higher may mean that your pet is suffering from heatstroke, according to the American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA). Humidity is also a factor in heatstroke, as cases increase during hot, humid days

Which Pets Are at Risk of Heat Stroke?

Any mammal, human or animal, can develop heatstroke, including our furry friends. Although heatstroke is most often diagnosed in dogs, it can also affect cats, rabbits, guinea pigs and other small animals. Older or overweight pets, pets with heart or lung conditions, and dogs with short muzzles, like pugs and bulldogs, are more likely to develop heatstroke, according to the AAHA. Heatstroke can occur whether your pet is inside or outside.

Heatstroke is an emergency. Without prompt treatment, your pet could die.

What Are the Symptoms of Heatstroke?

You may notice some of these symptoms if you're pet has heatstroke:

  • Drooling
  • Panting
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Red Gums
  • Dry Gums
  • Lack of Energy
  • Trouble Breathing
  • Falling Down or Stumbling
  • Seizures
  • Collapse

What Can I Do to Keep My Pet Safe from Heatstroke?

These tips can help your pet on hot, humid days:

  • Make Shade a Priority. If your pet will be spending time outdoors, check your yard to ensure that there are plenty of shady spots to escape the heat. A dog house isn't a good shade solution. Dog houses hold in heat and increase your dog's risk of developing heatstroke.
  • Provide Plenty of Water. Keep your pet's water dish full of fresh, cool water when it's hot and humid outside. Lack of water can quickly lead to dehydration.
  • Limit the Amount of Time Your Pet Spends Outside. If being outside isn't pleasant for you on a hot, humid day, your pet won't enjoy it any more than you do. For your pet's sake, decrease the length of its outdoor breaks when it's hot and humid.
  • Don't Leave Your Pet in a Parked Car. Spending time in a parked car, even with the windows partially open, can be deadly for your pet. The temperature outside your car may feel comfortable, but it's a very different story inside the car. When the outside temperature is 85F, the temperature inside the car rises to 102F in just 10 minutes, according to the Humane Society of the United States.
  • Keep Your Home Cool. Turn on your air-conditioner to cool your home on hot or humid days. Fans may be helpful on cooler days but only push hot air around on sweltering days and can't reduce humidity like air-conditioners.
  • Buy a Cooling Device for Your Pet. Cooling mats, beds, collars and bandanas will help your pet stay cool despite the climbing temperatures. Pet stores and websites offer a variety of cooling devices designed for your pet's comfort.
  • Reschedule Exercise Sessions. Avoid vigorous play sessions or walks during the hottest parts of the day. Instead, reschedule these activities for dusk or dawn when it's likely to be cooler and less humid.
  • Learn Heatstroke First Aid Basics. If your pet seems uncomfortable outdoors or is showing any signs of heatstroke, bring it indoors immediately. Wet towels in cool water, wring them out and place then on your pet's head and chest. If your pet is agreeable, a cool (not cold) bath can also be helpful. Be sure to offer a fresh supply of water too.
  • Call Your Veterinarian. Although your pet may perk up once its inside, it's important to call the veterinarian as soon as possible. He or she can tell you if your pet needs to be seen. If your pet is struggling to breathe, collapsing or experiencing seizures, vomiting or diarrhea, don't wait to call. Go to your veterinarian's office or the nearest emergency veterinary office if it's after normal hours.

Are you concerned that your pet may have heatstroke or another health problem? Get in touch with us and tell us about your animal's symptoms.

Sources:

American Animal Hospital Association: How Can I Prevent Heatstroke in My Pet?

American Kennel Club: How Hot is Too Hot? Heatstroke in Dogs, 05/06/2021

The Humane Society of the United States: Keep Pets Safe in the Heat

Location

Find us on the map

Office Hours

Our Regular Schedule

Monday:

9:00 AM-6:00 PM

Tuesday:

9:00 AM-8:00 PM

Wednesday:

9:00 AM-4:00 PM

Thursday:

9:00 AM-6:00 PM

Friday:

9:00 AM-5:00 PM

Saturday:

9:00 AM-3:00 PM

Sunday:

Closed

  • "I have my puppy for only 4 days and the doctor provided all the answers to my million questions. She was patient and kind and very loving to my pup. She diagnosed ear mites and cleaned his ears throughly. She explained everything throughly and even comforted me when I got upset about him being a little sick. I would highly recommend and will be taking Finn her from here on out. Thank you thank you thank you!!"
    by Jeanna P. on 04/06/2022
  • ""My husband and I absolutely love Three Village Veterinary Hospital! Our puppies adore Dr. Sophia, and she takes the best care of them whenever we bring them in. When our newest puppy broke her leg and had to have surgery, Dr. Sophia called us right away to check in and see how she was doing, which meant the world to us! All of the vet techs and front desk staff are also amazing! I couldn't imagine bringing our babies anywhere else.""
    Jessica K.
  • "'They have taken great care of my puppy...even when he does scary things like eating light bulbs ( metal and all). As a first time dog owner I have lots of questions and each of the vets have taken their time to answer all of my questions and concerns without ever making me feel stupid for asking. The support staff is also very knowledgeable, helpful and truly gets excited to see each of the animals that comes through the door.'"
    Joanne W
  • ""I could not be happier with my visit to Three Village Veterinary Hospital! I just recently moved to New York and have been extremely nervous in choosing a new veterinarian for my dog (he’s super stubborn and can be a real handful). I called Three Village Veterinary Hospital and right off the bat Dr. Sophia Was fantastic! She really took the time to dive into Huxley’s history with me, including his anxiousness about vet visits. Hearing Dr. Sophia ask all the right questions reassured me that Huxley was in good hands.

    Huxley came out of his appointment with a bill of clean health and a ton of new friends in the office staff, I couldn’t believe how happy he was! I am so glad that I was recommended to Three Village Veterinary Hospital and feel incredibly relieved to have found a fantastic new team that I can trust Huxley with. I HIGHLY recommend!""
    Michelle G
  • ""I would never go to another place but this one, even if I had to travel. best professional understanding point on doctors there. they opened their doors and stayed open just for me after hours. They had so much empathy & helped me make the right decision in a short time. I recieved a hand written card from them a couple of days after my visit, which made me cry. I trust them and respect all of them 100% my entire will be taken our pets theres. I cant thank them enough""
  • "We've been with TVVH for over 25 years. Could not imagine going elsewhere. In addition to their professional expertise is the consistent human element; their very real kindness and caring. Office staff, technicians and doctors all are exceptional."
    Linda B
  • "The staff and doctors are amazing. The older my Shih Tzu gets the more difficult and snappy he has become. Your doctors and staff are kind, gentle, and professional. You don't make me feel like I have a bad dog or I raised him wrong. I feel you care not just for me dog but for me (who can be a bit neurotic about my dog). Your tech staff and doctors...even the front desk staff are the best!!"
    Rebecca D
  • "I not only use Three Village Veterinary for my personal animals, but frequently recommend them to my grooming customers as well. I trust them explicitly and value their professionalism, but above all their compassion... all the doctors there are great & the fact that they put up with my MANY emergencies (& my neurosis) makes them my fav. Love you guys <3"
    Melissa V