How to Prevent Your Dog From Heat Stroke or Overheating: Signs, Symptoms, and Statistics
Updated: Aug 27, 2022
Dogs can suffer from heat stroke or overheating in several ways, and pet parents need to be aware of the signs and symptoms. In this blog post, we'll talk about how dogs can become overheated, the signs and symptoms to look out for, and how to prevent your dog from becoming overheated. We'll also share some statistics on dogs who have died from heat stroke or overheating so that you can be better informed as a pet parent.
Hot Cars Are Dangerous to Dogs
Dogs can become overheated in several ways. One way is by being left in a hot car. The ASPCA states, "On an 85-degree day, for example, the temperature inside a parked car can reach 102 degrees within ten minutes." Just imagine how much hotter it can get on a 90-degree day!?! And on a hot day, cracking the windows does little to nothing to keep the car cool for your dog.
Dogs Need Shade and Water
Another way dogs can become overheated is by being overexposed to sun and heat without adequate shade or water. Dogs who are left outside without access to shade and water are at risk of suffering from heat stroke or dehydration, both of which can be fatal.
So How Can You Prevent Your Dog from Becoming Overheated?
First, never leave your dog in a parked car on a hot day, even for just a few minutes. If you're going to be out in the sun with your dog, make sure there's plenty of shade and water available. And if you're going anywhere that might be too hot for your dog (like a hike or walk), consider leaving them at home where it's cool and comfortable.
Many people don't realize that dogs don't sweat as humans do; they pant to cool themselves off. This means that they're less efficient at cooling themselves down when they're overexposed to heat and sun. Their body temperature is also higher than ours, averaging around 101 degrees Fahrenheit compared to ours of 98.6. This combination of factors makes dogs more susceptible to heat stroke and dehydration than humans.
What are the Signs and Symptoms of Heatstroke or Dehydration in Dogs?
If your dog is displaying any of these signs, it's important to act quickly.
- Heavy panting
- Difficulty breathing
- Excessive drooling or saliva
- Thickened mucus in the nose
- Glazed over eyes
- Rapid heartbeat
- lethargy or weakness (can't stand up)
- Muscle tremors
If you think your dog is suffering from heat stroke or dehydration, the first thing you should do is move them to a cool, shaded area. Then, wet their fur with cool (not cold) water and offer them small sips of water. If they're unable to drink on their own, you can use a syringe or turkey baster to give them water. Do not give them ice water, as this can cause shock.
If your dog's condition doesn't improve within 30 minutes, or if they're displaying any of the following signs, it's important to seek emergency veterinary care:
- Blood in stool
- Bloody nose
Dogs Die From Heat Stroke Each Year?
The statistics on dogs who die from heat stroke or overheating are unfortunately quite high. In 2018, the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) reported that they received nearly 12,000 calls about animals being left in hot cars. And according to PETA, "On average, 37 dogs die from heatstroke in hot cars each day."
These numbers are staggering, but there are things we can do as pet parents to prevent these tragedies. By being informed and taking steps to prevent our dogs from becoming overheated, we can help keep them safe and healthy all summer long.
If your dog's body temperature reaches 104 degrees Fahrenheit, this is considered a medical emergency and you should take them to the veterinarian immediately. Overheating can cause brain damage and organ failure, so it's important to act fast if you think your dog may be suffering from heat stroke.
Unfortunately, heat stroke is a leading cause of death in dogs. A study conducted by the animal welfare organization Prevent Cruelty California found that "between 2014 and 2016, at least 54% of all dog deaths in cars were due to heat-related causes." That's why it's so important for pet parents to be aware of the dangers of leaving their dog in a hot car.
So, what can you do to be a smart pet parent and prevent your dog from overheating? First, never leave your dog in a parked car on a hot day, even for just a few minutes. If you're going to be out in the sun with your dog, make sure there's plenty of shade and water available. And if you're going anywhere that might be too hot for your dog (like a hike or walk), consider leaving them at home where it's cool and comfortable. Additionally, familiarize yourself with the signs and symptoms of heat stroke in dogs so that you can act quickly if your dog does become overheated. With some careful planning and preparation, you can help keep your furry friend safe and cool all summer long! Be sure to share this post with your fellow dog-lovers to help spread the word about keeping our furry friends safe in the summer sun.
[ ASPCA: Dogs and Heatstroke]( aspca.org/about-us/blog/dogs-and-heatstroke)
[ HSUS: Hot Cars Kill Animals]( humanesociety.org/resources/hot-cars-kill-animals)
[ PETA: Dogs Die in Hot Cars]( peta.org/issues/animals-in-entertainment-and-sport/cruel-practices/dogs-die-hot-cars/)
[ AKC: Overheating in Dogs]( akc.org/expert-advice/health/overheating-dogs/)
[ American Red Cross: Pets and Heat]( redcross.org/about-us/news-and-events/news/2017/pets-and-heat.html)
[ CDC: Overheating and Dogs ]( cdc.gov/environmentalhealth/weatherizationdaycarehomes/pets.html)