How to prevent heat stroke in dogs

Heat stroke is a very serious condition for dogs. They can suffer severe organ damage or death. Learning how to prevent heat stroke in dogs is vital to keeping your dog happy and safe in the hot summer months.

prevent heat stroke in dogs

We hear it all too often, dogs suffering and dying in hot cars. Would you believe that hundreds of calls are made to the Humane Society or SPCA centers every summer. Dogs die in hot cars!

Cars and the greenhouse effect

Greenhouses are usually a nice warm environment that people in cold climates can use to grow plants in all season long. Our cars heat up like a greenhouse too and become much warmer inside than the temperature outside.

When the sun’s rays pass through the car windows, they heat up the interior surfaces inside the car. The glass then holds in the rays and won’t let the heat escape. The temperature then rapidly increases inside the car.

A Stanford University test found that even if it’s only 72 degrees F outside, a car’s internal temperature can rocket to 116 degrees F within an hour.

When it’s 85 degrees F, the temperature inside the car increases to 102 degrees in 10 minutes, and 120 degrees in 20 minutes.

Never leave your pet unattended in a parked car. Even if you park in the shade and leave the windows open slightly, the internal temperature of your car can heat up and put your dog in danger of fatal heat stroke within just a few minutes.

What is heat stroke?

Heat stroke occurs when your pet’s temperature becomes dangerously high, generally about 106 degrees F. Heat stroke is a very serious conditions that can result in brain damage, organ failure, and death. A chemical reaction occurs and actually breaks down the cells in your pet’s body.

What are the signs of heat stroke?

  • ​Body temperature can reach 104 - 110 degrees F
  • Heavy Panting
  • Rapid pulse or heartbeat
  • Excessive thirst
  • Excessive drooling
  • Lethargy
  • Lack of coordination or staggering
  • Siezures
  • Glazed eyes
  • Vomiting
  • Unconsiusness

Learn how to prevent heat stroke in dogs and how to treat heatstroke if you find a dog in this terrible state.

What is the emergency treatment?

If you suspect that a dog has heatstroke, move the dog to a cool area. It is important to try to cool the dog before driving to the vet.

Cool the dog gently, use cool water NOT ice-cold water, as this can trap heat around internal organs rather than allowing the heat to escape. A fan will cool the dog well.

Get to the vet!​

prevent heat stroke in dogs

What to Do If You See a Dog in a Hot Car

The Human Society have published an article on how to help if you see a dog in a hot car. I have listed the steps to help you all if you see this happen.

If the owner can't be found, call the non-emergency number of the local police or animal control and wait by the car for them to arrive. In several states good Samaritans can legally remove animals from cars under certain circumstances, so be sure to know the laws in your area and follow any steps required.

  • Be ready to call for help: Gather essential telephone numbers and have them on hand. You’ll want to have your local animal control agency's number and the police department's non-emergency number so you can quickly report the situation. Keep these numbers in your purse, your car's glove compartment or programmed into your phone

  • Spread the word: Distribute The Humane Society of the United States hot car flyer, which spells out the dangers of leaving pets in parked cars. Order more flyers on animalsheltering.org. You can also watch and share our retro video on the issue.

  • Get involved: Ask local store managers, shopping malls, restaurants and other businesses to post signs asking customers not to leave their pets in their cars while shopping or dining. A huge part of the solution to this problem is raising awareness.

  • Speak up: If your town or state doesn't have a law prohibiting leaving pets in parked cars, contact your local representatives or attend a town hall meeting to start lobbying for one. Learn the basics about advocating for animals with our activist toolkit.

  • What is the Law around leaving dogs in hot cars?


    The My Dog is Cool website states that at least 15 states and many municipalities have laws that specifically address the problem of animals left in cars in extreme temperatures. These laws often authorize law enforcement officials to enter a vehicle and remove the animal. Even in states without these provisions, many consider leaving an animal in an enclosed hot car to be animal cruelty and numerous news stories report the dog’s guardian getting charged for animal cruelty for leaving their dog in the car, even if the dog turns out to be OK.

    prevent heat stroke in dogs

    The laws for breaking a window or trespassing on private property (a vehicle) to remove an animal (still seen as property in the eyes of the law) are much more vague.

    A few of the states that have hot car provisions do authorize animal control officers and law enforcement to break into a vehicle if they think the dog is in danger of dying.

    Even in stats without this provision, officers are in a better position to take crucial action to save a dog’s life without fear of repercussion. That’s why it is so important to call 911 right away if you see a dog in a hot car. Remember, minutes matter!

    Visit www.mydogiscool.com. This site is designed to help spread the word about the dangers of hot cars.

    Resources include downloadable posters and “It’s hot!” flyers that can be used when a dog is left in a hot car. There is an “Is it Too Hot?” weather forecasting tool that allows you to enter your zip code and see if it’s too hot to take your pal along in the car.

    Some more great ideas to keep your dog cool this summer:

    Besides providing lots of shade and water for your dog on hot days, here are some great ways to keep your dog happy and healthy this summer.

    Easyology Premium Pet Cold Gel Pad

    How to prevent heat stroke in dogs

    The Chilly Cooling Mat keeps your dog comfortable & Looks great doing it

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    PetSafe Drinkwell Platinum Pet Fountain

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    • 168 ounce water capacity is great for pets of all sizes.
    • Free-falling water stream entices pets to drink more
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    • BPA Free plastic design is top-shelf dishwasher safe

    If the motor is humming loudly, make sure the water level is above the minimum line.

    One Dog One Bone Bone Shaped Dog Pool

    How to prevent heat stroke in dogs
    • Made with heavy duty truck bed liner material
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