Prevent Heatstroke In Dogs

7 Ways to Prevent Heatstroke in Dogs

Updated 03/06/2024 by Ava Jaine

As temperatures begin to soar, a common issue that all dog owners should be aware of is heatstroke.

Also known as heat stress, many dogs end up visiting the vet because their owners don’t realize that their pup has overheated.

It is important to know the early signs and learn how to prevent heatstroke in dogs before it happens.

Table Of Contents

What Is Heatstroke?

Heatstroke occurs when your dog’s body temperature is too high and can’t be regulated. If your dog spends too much time in the heat, they are at risk for heatstroke.

Heatstroke in dogs can be fatal if not promptly treated.

Hot and thirsty dog drinking dripping cool water

What Causes Heatstroke In Dogs?

Dogs don’t sweat like humans do. Their skin doesn’t perspire because of their insulated fur coat. Their coats keep them warm in the winter and cool in the summer.

Dogs only have sweat glands in their paw pads and ear canals.

Your pup will pant to cool off. Panting helps your dog release extra body heat and maintain a comfortable temperature.

When temperatures are too high, panting can’t cool them down fast enough, which causes heatstroke!

Note: Dogs with flat faces (like pugs) can’t tolerate high temperatures and aren’t cooled by panting. Find out why flat-faced dogs are higher risk for heatstroke.


Signs of Heatstroke in Dogs

Knowing the signs of heatstroke can save your dog’s life.  Cool your dog down ASAP if you notice any of these symptoms. 

Note: Many signs of heatstroke may not occur until days after your sunny outdoor excursions, so keep a close eye on your dog.

Early Symptoms of Heatstroke:

  • Heavy panting
  • Excessive Drooling
  • Rapid Breathing
  • Bright Red Tongue and Gums
  • Dizzy
  • Disorientation, off-balance
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Dry Skin

Advanced Signs of Heatstroke:

  • Lethargy
  • Not Moving
  • Noisy Breathing
  • Loss of Bladder or Bowel Control
  • White or Blue Gums
  • Seizures
  • Shock

Here is a helpful YouTube video from Our Pets Health: How To Cool A Dog Down Quickly!

Heatstroke is an emergency that can be fatal, so act quickly and take your dog to the vet if you notice any of these symptoms.


How To Prevent Heatstroke in Dogs

Heatstroke in dogs is serious and deadly!

The best way to keep your pup safe is through prevention.  Here are some great ways to help keep your dog safe in the summer heat.

dog in sunglasses drink cocktail at the beach

Stay Hydrated

Always provide plenty of cool water for your dog indoors and outdoors. 

They lose a heavy amount of fluid through panting and they need to stay hydrated to stay cool.

Whether you are going for a hike in the woods or a run in the park, bring a water bottle with you and have your dog take several water breaks in the shade to avoid dehydration.

Off-Peak Activities

You can prevent dog heatstroke and dehydration by taking walks and playing during the cooler parts of the day.

Plan your outside doggie activities before and after peak sunshine time. In the USA, avoid 10 am to 4 pm daylight saving time.

Make sure to walk and play at a slower pace when it’s hot outside and take frequent breaks to cool down.

Staying Healthy

Avoid feeding your dog any food scraps or unhealthy treats and feed them a healthy dog food diet.

happy dachshund running outside on the grass

Car Rides

Never leave your dog in the car on any type of day!

Even with the windows cracked, your car can get as hot as an oven and will kill your dog in minutes.


Does your dog have long hair?  If you are thinking about giving your pup a super short haircut this summer, be very careful how short you go.

Shorter hair won’t protect your dog from sunburn,  it will reveal more skin. 

The longer hair acts as a nice sun barrier that is protecting them from the sun. 

So, yes, for the heat, give them a nice trim, but don’t take off too much of the length to prevent dog sunburn.


Avoid Dog Houses

Don’t let your dog hang out in an outdoor dog house. 

Dog houses hold in the extreme heat because they don’t have the proper airflow to stay cool. 

Provide a cool open-air, shaded area for your dog instead.

Stay Inside

If it is just too blasted hot outside, you and your dog can enjoy some fun games and exercise in the cool air conditioning.

If you don’t have air conditioning, stay cool with some house fans or in a puppy pool.

Note: Never dunk your dog’s entire body in cold water. The sudden change in temperature could cause them to go into shock.

dachshund outside on a sunny day
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