How Can I Prevent Heatstroke In My Pet?

How Can I Prevent Heatstroke In My Pet?

Heatstroke, also known as overheating or heat exhaustion, happens when your pet’s body temperature rises above the normal range of 100 to 102.2 degrees Fahrenheit. Unlike humans, dogs and cats can't cool off by sweating as they have very few sweat glands.

Instead, they mainly cool off by panting, which helps evaporate moisture from their oral cavity and lower their body temperature. Heatstroke often occurs when pets are left outside on hot days, but it can also develop in other conditions such as:

  • High Humidity: Even if the temperature isn’t extremely high, high humidity can still cause overheating.

  • Lack of Breaks: If your pet doesn't take breaks from playing to cool off.

  • Insufficient Water: If your pet doesn't have enough access to water in warm temperatures.

  • Closed Spaces: If your pet is left in a closed-up house on a hot day without ventilation or air conditioning.

  • Cars: Leaving your pet inside a car, even if it doesn’t seem hot outside.

Heatstroke is a serious condition that can be fatal if not addressed immediately.

Signs of Heatstroke in Pets

While enjoying outdoor activities like fetch or frisbee with your dog, watch for signs of overheating, such as:

  • Excessive Panting: Rapid and heavy breathing is a clear sign.

  • Excessive Drooling: More drooling than usual.

  • Difficulty Breathing: Labored or troubled breathing.

  • Vomiting: A common sign of overheating.

  • Diarrhea: Sometimes accompanied by blood.

  • Weakness: Your pet may appear unusually weak.

  • Incoordination or Stumbling: Trouble walking or standing.

  • Sudden Collapse: Your pet may collapse unexpectedly.

  • Seizures: Severe overheating can cause seizures.

If you notice any of these signs, act immediately because heatstroke can progress quickly.

Which Pets Are More Prone to Heatstroke?

Any pet can develop heatstroke, but certain animals are more at risk. Brachycephalic breeds, like bulldogs and pugs, are particularly vulnerable due to their short muzzles, which make it harder for them to cool down by panting. Overweight pets, elderly animals, and those with heart or lung disease also have an increased risk.

These pets should be kept indoors with air conditioning during hot weather to prevent heatstroke.

What to Do if Your Pet Shows Signs of Heatstroke?

If your pet shows mild signs of heatstroke, such as panting or vomiting, take immediate action:

✅ Bring Them Inside: Move your pet to a cooler environment.

✅ Offer Water: Provide cool (not cold) water for your pet to drink.

✅ Check Temperature: Use a digital thermometer to take your pet’s rectal temperature. If it’s above 102.2 degrees, take further steps to cool them down.

✅ Cool Down Gradually: Cover your pet with towels soaked in lukewarm water. You can also wipe rubbing alcohol on their paw pads. Avoid using cold water as it can cause dangerous blood pressure changes.

✅Monitor Temperature: Your pet's body temperature should start to decrease, and they should begin to improve within 10 minutes. Stop cooling when their body temperature reaches 102.5 degrees to prevent them from becoming too cold. 

    If your pet’s condition doesn’t improve within 10 minutes, take them to the nearest AAHA-accredited veterinarian immediately. They may need advanced support, such as intravenous fluids or medications.

    Ways to Prevent Heatstroke

    To prevent heatstroke, consider the following precautions whenever the temperature is above 80 degrees or the humidity is high:

    • Supervision: Never leave your pet unsupervised outside on hot days. Keep them indoors with air conditioning when you’re away.
    • Fresh Water and Shade: Ensure your pet always has access to fresh water, shade, and shelter away from direct sunlight.
    • Exercise Timing: Take your daily walks or jogs in the morning before temperatures rise.
    • No Parked Cars: Never leave your pet alone in a parked car. The temperature inside a car can quickly rise to deadly levels, even on sunny days that aren’t particularly hot.
    • Special Care for Vulnerable Pets: Keep brachycephalic breeds, elderly and obese pets, and those with heart or lung disease inside your air-conditioned home, except for short bathroom breaks.

    Final Thoughts

    Heatstroke is a serious threat to pets, especially during the hotter months. By taking preventive measures and being aware of the signs, you can keep your furry friend safe and healthy. Remember, staying vigilant and acting quickly can save your pet's life.

    To make your outdoor adventures with your dog even safer, consider using the Joyride Harness. Designed for comfort and control, the Joyride Harness makes walks enjoyable and secure for both you and your pet. Its easy-to-use design and reflective features ensure that your furry friend stays safe during all your outings.

    Ready to enhance your walks and keep your dog safe? Check out the Joyride Harness today! Visit our website to find the perfect harness for your pup and enjoy worry-free walks all year round.


    Source: American Kennel Club
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