rmgaylord0 (CC0), Pixabay

I truly hope that you never need to know what you learn from this article on how to prevent your dog from having a heat stroke. However, it is important for all dog owners to read it. At least once.

Shop our irresistibly fun dog toys!

How Many Dogs Are At Risk?

A nation-wide pet owner’s survey conducted by the American Pet Products Association in 2017-2018  found that 68% of American families own a pet.

This means that about 85 million homes have a pet, the majority of which is made up of dogs. During the summertime, many of us take advantage of the weather to be outdoors.

Often, we take our canine companions with us hiking, camping or just to run errands. While there is nothing wrong with wanting to spend a little extra time with our best furry friends, we can unwittingly put them in danger. You need to know how to prevent your dog from having a heatstroke.

Keeping the Risk to a Minimum

If we do not avoid a few things and are sure to include a few others, we can keep that risk to a minimum. Most items on this list are common sense but it never hurts to have a reminder! After all, “better safe than sorry” got to be an old saying for a good reason.

man, dogs, hiking

Is it really in his best interest to go on this particular outing?

Sometimes it really is best to just leave him at home. If you will have to leave him in your car alone, even for just a few minutes, he does not need to go along. Taking him into places where he will not be welcome is not a good idea, either. Usually, the reason he tags along with you is to build a better bond or to provide care/service you cannot give at home. Occasionally, it is simply to have fun.

Never leave your pet in a car alone.

Every year, on average of 38 kids under the age of 15 die from what is called Pediatric Vehicular Heatstroke (PVH). 1n 2013 alone, there were 44 such deaths. There are no reliable records of how many dogs die in this way because most of them go unreported.

Realistic estimates are in the hundreds nationally. It would be in the thousands, globally. In the 2.5 month period in 2015, 11 K-9 dogs in an 8 state area died of vehicular heatstroke.

An Easy Way to Prevent Your Dog From Having a Heat Stroke

Even if you’ll “only be in the bank for a minute” or “just picking up 3 items in the Quick Mart”,  never leave your dog (or your kid) in the car alone.

Even with the window cracked, the car can heat up very quickly. Place his safety and health first and, unless you live in a very cool climate,  leave him at home during the hot weather months.

dog, pet, shop

See the chart below for just how quickly the temperature rises in a car. Never leave your child or dog in a car when the outside temperature is 70 degrees Fahrenheit or greater. This chart will help you prevent your dog from having a heatstroke.


Remember that dogs cannot sweat to cool down.

Keep in mind that your dog is wearing a dense fur coat and he cannot sweat to cool down. Panting helps but simply is not enough to prevent him from dying if he is in the heat long enough.

Breathing becomes an issue as well.

The flat-faced breeds have a harder time breathing in the heat and are at greater risk of becoming overheated. Areas of high humidity make panting less effective. Altitude can also have an impact on breathing for humans as well as for dogs.

A Change In Temperature Causes a Change in Other Vital Signs As Well

A dog’s normal temperature is between 100.5 to 102.5. Early on in the stages of heat stroke, the heart rate increases. As the heart tries to cool the body down in this manner, the core blood pressure drops.

This drop in BP and the loss of volume caused by the panting makes heat loss mechanisms to fail. These attempts by the body finally lead to a further elevation in body temperature.

Heatstroke Defined In Terms of Body Temperature

Heatstroke is defined as being in an extreme state of hyperthermia. This is when their body temperature is between 106 to 109 degrees Fahrenheit. Their body tissue suffers a thermal injury at this level.

By the time the body reaches 109, toxins have built up, causing multi-organ damage and destroying the liver, kidney, heart and brain tissue.

Toxic Buildup Leads to Poor Blood Clotting

These effects, and others, make the blood no longer know whether to clot or not. This sequence of events leads to death. However, this is totally preventable. Never leave your dog (or kid) alone in a hot car.

 If, in spite of your best efforts to plan ahead and to avoid having to leave your dog in the car, you may find yourself wondering if the heat has been too much for him.  You need to be able to recognize the indications of canine vehicular heatstroke.

Knowing the signs and symptoms of heatstroke in dogs will help you prevent your dog from having a heatstroke.

As discussed earlier, dogs cannot respond to heat in the same way as do humans. Because they are at increased risk of heatstroke, it is important to recognize the signs of heatstroke in its earliest stages. With a 50% mortality risk, catching and treating it early is critical. It is better to prevent your dog from having a heat stroke than to have to treat him for it.

dog, pug, isolated

Heatstroke is a life-threatening condition. You can prevent your dog from having a heat stroke. It requires immediate action if you wish your dog to avoid serious medical complications and, potentially, death. The most common signs and symptoms are:

  • Increased heart rate
  • Panting, which increases as heat stroke progresses
  • Drooling, salivating
  • Agitation, restlessness
  • Breathing distress
  • Very red or pale gums
  • Bright red tongue
  • Delirium or confusion
  • Dizziness, staggering
  • Lethargy, weakness
  • Muscle tremors
  • Seizures
  • Collapsing and lying down
  • Little to no urine production
  • Coma
  • Do Not Delay Taking Action If You Want To Prevent Your Dog From Having A Heatstroke.!

If there is any chance that your dog is suffering from heatstroke, take immediate action to prevent a serious, life-threatening outcome.

Immediately remove your dog from the hot car. After spraying or otherwise applying cool or tepid water onto the animal’s fur and skin, fan him to help maximize heat loss.

Don’t use ice-cold water or ice! This may worsen the problem!

Soak the area around your dog with cool water if possible. Putting them on a wet towel or blanket is helpful. Call your veterinarian ASAP and take your dog to them immediately. DO NOT DELAY.

Prevent Your Dog From Having a Heat Stroke

Hopefully, you will never need to follow the instructions above to treat heatstroke. It is certainly better to avoid such a scenario if possible. Use wisdom when deciding whether or not to take your furry buddy along with you and avoid running the risk of losing him to heatstroke.

So, you have decided to leave him at home in order to prevent your dog from having a heatstroke.

What do you need to do to keep him safe if he must remain outdoors in the heat?   NEVER leave pets outside without adequate shade.

If the shade provided by your house doesn’t cover a good portion of your yard and you don’t have trees, you need to provide a shelter of some kind.

A canopy can provide enough shade to keep your dog out of the direct sun and help keep him cool. These can be purchased at a reasonable price at Wal-Mart, Big Lots, Amazon and many other places.

meadow, grass, palm tree forest

Always make sure that your dog has plenty of fresh, clean water easily available to him.

Placing the water in a spot that is usually shady will help to keep it cooler for longer. Dogs need more water to stay hydrated when it is hot, just like people do. Be sure to leave enough water for the time you will be away.

Better to leave more water than is needed than to not leave enough. Make sure it is not likely to be turned over easily. While having a wading pool full of water in which to play and cool off, they need clean water for drinking as well.

chihuahua, dog, chiwawa

Avoid walking your dog on hot pavement

Not only do you want to avoid your dog becoming overheated from too much exercise on hot days, walking on hot pavement can burn his feet.

Just like for us, it is better to walk in the cooler parts of the day to avoid problems.  Walking in the early morning and evening hours is much more pleasant for both of you and safer as well.

Be sure to carry along enough water for both of you!  If the pavement is too hot for your dog’s paw pads, avoid it. Walk on the grass and stay off any heated surfaces.

Although some dogs refuse to wear them, you may wish to try doggie booties made to protect their paws from either heat or ice.

hiking, walk, dog

What are some proactive moves you can make to keep your dog safe during these hot months? Make frozen treats for your pet to cool him down on those very hot days.

Try this recipe borrowed from Wide Open Pets. With only 4 ingredients, you don’t have to be a Cordon Bleu-trained culinary Chef to make these.

Your dog will love them and they will help him keep cool. Keep him cool. All you need is a pan, a freezer, and these four ingredients.


  • 1 Cup chopped fruit ( be sure it is a fruit known to be safe for dogs)
  •  1/2 cup peanut butter
  • 1 cup of water
  • 2 tablespoons flax seeds


  1. Combine peanut butter and water and pour into a bundt cake pan (or any other kind of pan).
  2. Add the fruit and flax seeds.
  3. Freeze for four to six hours.

When completely frozen, remove from the freezer and watch your dog enjoy your special made treat. You can also make these with chicken or beef broth. Home-made canine ice cream made with peanut butter and yogurt is popular with the pups.

There are simple recipes online for other frozen treats using an ice cube tray. There is an excellent article on https://happymutt.org dealing with foods that are not safe for dogs. Grapes and raisins are two that are very dangerous for dogs.  https://happymutt.org/why-you-should-keep-grapes-away-from-your-dog/

Summer haircuts can make a huge difference in their comfort.

Many humans, as well as dogs, wear their hair/fur shorter in the summer. Some men only wear beards in the winter months because of the discomfort caused by the heat of summer.

Just be sure not to shave them entirely or to cut the fur so short that they can get sunburned too easily.

dog, smile, outdoor

Plastic kiddie wading pool and frozen toys

Fill with water, a few toys and a few trays of ice. Check out the Kong. It is made to freeze or to put treats inside of them. Our Drew’s Drago loves his Kong. Tennis Balls can also be frozen.

pups cooling off in a wading pool
pups cooling off in a wading pool

Cooling vests and bandanas.

Whether home-made or purchased, they are totally “cool” and this is more than just a play on words. It is fairly easy to turn an old pair of cargo pants with ice packs in the pockets into a canine cooling vest.

Wet and freeze a bandana for use of those very hot and humid days to cool off your favorite canine. Cute and cool at the same time, Emma’s Bella is very stylish in her favorite bandana, regardless of the season.

Hopefully, these tips will remind you that there are things that you can do to make the summer a more comfortable and safer season for your beloved dog. Knowing how to prevent your dog from having a heat stroke is vital for their safety,


Photos Courtesy of Pixabay and my collection of photos.

Previous articleSome Tricks Hard To Teach Dogs
Next articleWhy Does Your Dog Want to Cuddle With You?
As Wife, Mother of 5, and Nana of many more, I have known and loved many dogs who were treasured members of our family. My education, experiences in showing, breeding, and developing pedigree-based breeding programs for others gives me a strong background upon which to base articles of interest to most dog lovers. However, it is my great love for dogs that gives me the passion to share them with other dog lovers.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here