Your Pets and Heatstroke

Most animals are unable to sweat all over their bodies like people can. They rely completely upon panting (to get rid of hot air and inhale cool air) to cool themselves. Some sweating occurs through their foot pads and nose, but this is insufficient to effectively cool them. These differences make them especially prone to heatstroke during hot, humid weather.

Symptoms to look for:

Restless behavior – trying to find a cool spot
Excessive grooming in an effort to cool off
Excessive or exaggerated panting
Unresponsiveness to commands and surroundings
Staggering, stumbling
Staring/anxious expression
Rapid heartbeat
Warm/ Dry skin
High fever
Dark red gums

If your pet is showing signs of heatstroke, it is imperative to get them to a veterinarian immediately as permanent damage to organs can occur.

For more information on heatstroke and many other summer ailments check out this site:



  • If you must take your pet outside make sure they have plenty of access to cool water.
  • Do not ask them to exercise.
  • Do not leave your pet outside on hot days even a shady spot is too hot.
  • Do not leave your pet in the car even if windows are slightly open.
  • Do not chain your pet in the sun, on concrete or asphalt.
  • Do not walk your dog in the heat on rock, sand or asphalt. Sensitive paw pads burn easily.
  • Never leave a muzzle on a dog in hot weather as they cannot pant freely.
  • Be aware that a pet can get heatstroke while swimming.


  • If your pet will be indoors on a hot day, give her access to water and a cool area.
  • Keep an air conditioner or fan on.
  • Do not confine the animal to any room where temperatures are especially high.
  • Even garages can be too hot and have insufficient air movement.

Extra Precautions

  • Short-nosed breeds such as Pugs, Shi Tzu’s, Pekingese, Bulldogs and Boxers, who have shorter faces or noses are especially prone to suffering from heatstroke as they aren’t able to pant as efficiently as dogs with longer faces. This also stands for short nosed cat breeds such as Persians and Exotics.
  • Very old, very young, or sick animals are at more risk.

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