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  • Writer's pictureStream Valley Vet

Too Much Summer Fun: Heat Stroke in Pets

By Morgan L., Kennel Attendant

Image by Katrin B. from Pixabay

Temperatures have finally risen, and it is prime time to get out and do some exploring

with your pooch. Fetch, frisbee and hiking might be on the agenda, but with all the fun going on, it can be easy to forget that the sun can be the reason the fun has to be cut short.


What is heat stroke? How do I recognize it?


Heat stroke, heat exhaustion or overheating occurs when a dog’s body temperature

raises to over the normal range of 100 to 102 degrees. A dog’s main way to cool off is panting, though they can release some heat from their paws. Some dogs may be more susceptible to heat stroke, such as dogs with darker coats, medical conditions such as hypothyroidism or heart disorders, or dogs with shorter muzzles, like pugs or bulldogs.


While out and about enjoying fun summer activities, make sure to look out for warning signs of heat stroke. These include excessive panting and drooling, red gums and tongue, and skin that feels hot to the touch. They may then become disoriented, begin vomiting, become lethargic or even collapse.


Image by Manfred Richter from Pixabay

What can I do to help?


Heat stroke can be fatal, so it’s imperative to be able to spring into action if any concern

arises. If your pet begins to display some of the symptoms of heat stroke, immediately take them inside or to a shady, cool spot out of the sun. Offer them cool to lukewarm water, blow cool air on them with a fan or wrap them in a lukewarm towel. If you are able, take the dog’s temperature. If the dog’s temperature is over 105 degrees or they do not respond to any treatment, immediately take them to a veterinarian. Be sure to gradually cool down your pet, do not submerge them in cold water!


Dog drinking water

How do I prevent heat stroke?


To prevent heat stroke, frequently offer your pet water on walks and give breaks from the sun. Do not leave them in a car with no A/C, as temperatures can quickly become fatal. If possible, move walks and playtime to dawn and dusk. Temperatures will be generally cooler and the pavement and sidewalks won’t be baked by the sun. If your pet is more susceptible to heat stroke, it may be best to keep them inside for the majority of the daytime.


Knowledge is your best friend! Knowing the signs of heat stroke and what to do if it

happens is all the difference between a fun summer day and a vet visit. If you believe that your pet may be experiencing heat stroke, do not hesitate to give Stream Valley Veterinary Hospital a call at (703) 723-1017.

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