Our dogs maintain their body temperature through panting, however sometimes they are unable to lose enough heat. Dogs and cats do suffer from heat exhaustion like people, but the symptoms are mild, and are not always noticed. What we finally see, and may cause the death of a pet, is heat stroke.

Some Possible Symptoms

1 ~ Being hot to the touch.
2 ~ A temperature higher then normal, especially over 105 degrees.
3 ~ Drooling or vomiting.
4 ~ Rapid breathing or panting. It may be enough to cause him/her trouble with swallowing.
5 ~ Being uncoordinated.
6 ~ Collapsing.
7 ~ Coma.

What You Should Do

1 ~ Remove the dog from the hot area and into shade.

2 ~ Wet the dog any way you have to. Preferred is to:

*Run cold water over the back of your pet's head; place cold packs, wrapped in towels, between the back legs, on the stomach, and in the arm pit area. Wet towels work as well.

3 ~ If your dog has collapsed, get him/her to your nearest veterinarian. While in transit it is important to continue to apply cool, wet towels to the back of the neck.

4 ~ Once his/her temperature has begun to drop, stop cooling or you'll over-cool him/her.

5 ~ Once your dog seems somewhat recovered again, you can offer cool water in small amounts often, until he/she seems sated. Do not let your dog drink a lot of water at once. Once he/she is refusing water, you can leave the bowl down safely.

6 ~ A trip to the vet would not be a bad idea even if the dog appears to have recovered, as symptoms can recur.

7 ~ *Note: The old practice of immersing an overheated dog fully in a bathtub of cold water is no longer recommended. While it will bring your dogs temperature down, it tends to overcorrect it, and then your dog may be seriously ill, cold, and wet. If you *do* have to use this method, please dry your dog well afterwards. Also, please use only for the dog who is overheated, but not collapsed.

8 ~ CAUTION: Some dogs act out of character and become vicious when suffering heat stroke. Therefore you may need to muzzle him/her. But, please choose a muzzle that allows your dog to pant, and drink.

9 ~ Be aware that suffering from a heat stroke makes an animal more prone to heat stroke in the future.


1 ~ Never leave your dog in a parked car, especially in sunlight. Even on mild days the temperature rises quickly in them.

2 ~ Minimize exertion during the "siesta" hours of the day during warm weather.

3 ~ Avoid exercise for your dog in hot or humid weather; especially, but not exclusively, at the beginning of summer. Most heat stroke cases are seen at the beginning of summer, or during heatwaves.

4 ~ Make sure that your dog has access to plenty of shade during the day.

5 ~ Make sure that your dog has plenty of fresh, cool water available at all times. If not indoors, the water should be placed in the shade.

6 ~ Working dogs should be wet down periodically throughout the day, and/or encouraged to take dips in clean water sources.

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