If you’re here because you searched “dog heat stroke” or about heat stress in dogs, you’ve come to the right place. Given the current heat wave (updated for July, 2023), we wanted to add more info to this article.
Heat Stress Comes Before Heatstroke
Heatstroke is the worst of the heat-related ailments for your dog. Heat stress comes first, followed by heat exhaustion. Check out our infographic on heat stress:
Preventing heat stroke in dogs
Prevention is key when it comes to keeping your dog safe from heat stroke. By taking proactive measures, you can greatly reduce the risk of your furry friend falling victim to this potentially life-threatening condition. The first step is to ensure that your dog has access to plenty of fresh water at all times. Hydration is essential for regulating body temperature, so make sure to refill their water bowl frequently, especially on hot days.
Providing ample shade is another crucial aspect of heat stroke prevention. Dogs should have a cool and shaded area to retreat to when the temperatures soar. This can be achieved by setting up a canopy, using umbrellas, or creating a shaded spot in your backyard. If your dog spends a lot of time outdoors, consider installing a doghouse or a covered area where they can seek shelter from the sun.
Avoiding strenuous exercise during peak heat hours is another important preventive measure. Dogs love to play and run around, but it’s best to limit their physical activity to early mornings or evenings when the temperatures are lower. This will help prevent them from overheating and reduce the risk of heat stroke. If you do take your dog for a walk, ensure that the pavement is not too hot, as it can burn their paw pads. Place the back of your hand on the pavement for a few seconds to test its temperature before taking your dog for a walk.
Additionally, it’s crucial to never leave your dog unattended in a parked car, even for a few minutes. As mentioned earlier, the temperature inside a car can rise rapidly, even with the windows cracked open, putting your dog at risk of heat stroke. If you need to run errands, it’s best to leave your dog at home in a cool and comfortable environment.
Tips for keeping your dog cool on hot days
In addition to the preventive measures mentioned earlier, there are several other ways to help your dog stay cool and comfortable on hot days. One effective method is to use cooling mats or pads. These specially designed mats are filled with a cooling gel or are made from breathable materials that absorb and dissipate heat, providing a cooling effect for your dog. Place the mat in a shaded area or indoors, and your dog can lie on it to cool down.
Another useful tool for keeping your dog cool is a cooling vest or bandana. These products are made from lightweight and breathable materials that can be soaked in water and worn by your dog to provide instant relief from the heat. The evaporating water helps to lower their body temperature, keeping them cool and comfortable. Cooling vests and bandanas are particularly beneficial during outdoor activities or walks on hot days.
You can also freeze treats or toys to provide your dog with a refreshing and entertaining way to cool down. Fill a Kong toy with peanut butter or yogurt and freeze it for a few hours. When your dog chews on the frozen treat, it will help lower their body temperature and keep them occupied. You can also freeze fruits, such as watermelon or berries, and offer them as a tasty and hydrating snack for your furry friend.
Grooming your dog regularly can also help them stay cool. Long-haired dogs can benefit from a trim or a shorter haircut during the summer months. However, it’s important to consult a professional groomer to ensure that the hair is not cut too short, as it provides protection against sunburn and insect bites. Regular brushing is also important to remove any loose fur and prevent matting, which can trap heat and cause discomfort.