Skip To Content

Tips For Preventing Heat Exhaustion & Heat Stroke In Dogs This Summer


Summer gives pet parents a chance to spend time outdoors with their dogs. But unlike humans, who sweat to keep their bodies cool, dogs don’t have an efficient way to sweat and regulate their temperature. This is the reason why summer activities increase the risk of heat stroke and heat exhaustion. Heatstroke can be devastating for your four-legged friend, so you must know the warning signs and how to keep your dog cool throughout summer.

What Is Heat Stroke?

Heat stroke is a serious health condition that happens when your pet’s temperature is so high that its organs stop functioning. When this happens, the body’s ability to control its temperature fails. The main reason for heat stroke in dogs is spending time in the sun — in some cases, this can happen in less than an hour! Most cases of heat stroke occur during the summer months. But it can also happen if you keep your dog locked up in your car without any shade for many hours. In Florida, a vehicle can reach over 100 degrees in a matter of minutes, so it’s important that you never leave your dog in a car with the windows closed as your dog can easily overheat.

What Is Heat Exhaustion?

Heat exhaustion happens when a dog’s temperature rises above 103°F. But if the dog’s rectal temperature keeps on rising and goes above 106°, heat stroke could happen at any time and the dog’s heart could stop beating.

What Causes Dogs To Have Heat Stroke?

Dogs can’t sweat like humans do to release their excess body heat. The sweat glands in a dog’s paws cannot regulate body temperature. So, dogs release excess body heat by opening their mouths and breathing rapidly. This is most commonly called panting.

Normally, panting can expel excess heat, but sometimes it’s not enough and the risk of heat stroke increases. This usually occurs when the dog spends time outdoors during the peak of summer months.

Are Dogs Sensitive To Heat?

It’s important to know that virtually all dogs are at risk of having heat stroke under intense heat. But certain breeds are more prone to heat stroke. This includes dogs that have a broad skull and relatively short limbs, such as:

  • Bulldogs
  • Boxers
  • Shih Tzus
  • Boston Terriers
  • Chihuahuas
  • Pugs

In addition, dogs that have long hair or thick fur coats, as well as dogs that are a few weeks old or over seven years old, have a higher risk of developing heat stroke.


How To Prevent Heat Stroke In Dogs

Here are some tips to help you keep your dogs cool in the summer:

  • Take cold water with you: This is an easy and efficient way to keep your dog from becoming dehydrated. Take a collapsible bowl along with you to give your pup water. Make sure your dog drinks at least 1.5 liters of water daily.
  • Provide shade: Provide adequate shade with a sun umbrella, a doghouse or any structure that will protect them during summer.
  • Use a towel to cool your dog: Keep a towel handy when you’re outdoors with your dog. Soak the towel in cold water and use it to wet the dog. You may also use a misting spray bottle that has cold water to ensure your dog stays cool all day.

Contact University Animal Clinic Today

If you need more ideas on how to keep your dog from experiencing heat exhaustion or heat stroke, contact us now at University Animal Clinic by calling (941) 253-5218. We offer compassionate pet care at our AAHA-accredited vet hospital. Our practice provides service to pets in SarasotaBradenton and Lakewood Ranch.

What Our Clients Have To Say

I took my galah Rosie for a general physical. The staff and vet took the time to show me (as a new bird owner) how to clip nails and wings and what to look for as far as outward signs of her health.

Susanne Arbagy

I just moved to Florida, and looking for a veterinarian I came across university animal clinic walking around the plaza so I decided to stop in and get information on the veterinarians, the women at the front desk was so kind and caring, I unfortunately forgot her name.

Karen Hulty

Can’t recommend highly enough!!! The staff is extremely friendly and the Vet is energetic and very knowledgeable and easy to talk to! They work with exotic animals which is a plus! We brought our bearded dragon that formed an abscess and they had her all fixed up in 20 minutes!!

Ian Preston

I love Dr. Rill. Our little Cafe had been struggling with an ear infection for almost a year and Dr, Rill never gave up on making her better. I learned so much from him. I love his assistants! They are kind and treat the animals with respect. And, they are kind to us humans as well.

Pet Parent

Great clinic for a ferret! Friendly staff, professional doctor!


I am, as I have been for a good 20 years, still a satisfied patron of University Animal Clinic. They do their best consistently and take comments to heart and make changes to serve our pets better.

Pet Parent

Thank you to Doctor Simonson, Casey, Dr. Sam and the rest of the team for taking care of Wrangler! You all treated him like a pet of your own and made me feel so comfortable leaving him with you to watch over after such a scary incident. Everyone at your office is so knowledgeable and caring.

Jennifer Tee

Best EVER!!! Dr. Leigh is fantastic!!! I am moving my dog’s care to her. This is after growing up with the same vet (22 years). She spent time with my dog and did a thorough examination. She took time to discuss treatment plans for her arthritis. Dr. Leigh and the techs are so knowledgeable.

Dog Parent

I wasn’t holding my breath that a vet would work hard to help diagnose my leopard gecko. I was wrong. The doctor worked hard to diagnose why our pet lizard stopped eating & ran a battery of tests.

Paulina Testerman

Vets and staff are knowledgeable and efficient. Clean and friendly Vet office. My dog now goes in to see her Vet with out balking.

Sara Little
Back To Top