Heat stroke is an ever-present threat here in Orlando, FL for both pets and humans. Cases of dog heat stroke are not uncommon at our hospital, and we want to make sure area pet owners are able to take necessary steps to protect their four-legged family members from this harmful condition. As an ongoing risk for dogs, heat stroke needs to be taken seriously, rather than taken for granted.

Below, we discuss the common clinical signs of heat stroke in dogs, what situations can put them most at risk, and how to protect your pet from succumbing to this condition.

If you have any questions about dog heat stroke or have concerns about your pet, contact our Orlando, FL, emergency animal hospital immediately at (407) 298-3807.

Signs of Heat Stroke in Dogs

There are several physical signs that could indicate heat stroke in your dog. If you see any of the following, call us right away.

• Panting heavily
• Labored breathing
• Drooling
• Acting lethargic and confused
• Difficulty standing and walking
• Collapse
• Difficulty urinating
• Vomiting and/or diarrhea
• Ears and nose feel warm
• Gums and tongue are bright red

Even if you are not sure whether your dog is in distress, you should check them out regardless and contact our hospital as quickly as possible so we can help!

Situations that Put Your Dog at Risk for Heat Stroke

The following situations increase your dog’s risk for heat stroke. Take The following situations increase your dog’s risk for heat stroke. Take care to avoid these and make sure your companion is staying cool and hydrated.

Leaving Your Dog in the Car

Even if your car is parked and sitting in the shade with the windows cracked, the temperature inside the vehicle can still rise significantly, and in just a few minutes.

Walking Your Dog in the Middle of the Day

At the height of the day, the sun is at its peak and the asphalt is at its hottest. Walking your pet around this time can leave them with severely burned paws, and the heat rising from the ground will raise their body temperature quickly. If you want to walk your dog, take them early in the morning, just after sunrise, or in the evening, just before sunset. And bring water!

Over-Exerting Your Dog

Too many walks and too much playtime out in the sun and heat can put your dog at risk for heat stroke. Over-exertion will increase their body temperature and it will take longer for them to cool down.

Leaving Your Dog Outside Without Water or Shade

As much as our dogs love being outdoors, they don’t love being in the heat for too long. Even on milder days, high humidity can quickly lead to heat exhaustion and potential heat stroke. If your dog needs to be outside for more than a few minutes, make sure they have shade to shelter in, and plenty of fresh water to drink. And bring them in as soon as possible!

Preventing Heat Stroke in Dogs

In addition to our suggestions above, we recommend that you always be cautious and err on the side of safety. Keep tabs on your local weather reports and be on the alert for heat advisories. If there is a particular day when heat stroke is a risk factor for people and pets, keep your dog inside as much as possible, with air conditioning and lots of water.
When your dog does go outside, consider putting out a small wading pool or turning on the sprinkler so they can cool off.

Dog Breeds Susceptible to Heat Stroke

Some dogs are more at risk for heat stroke than other breeds. Dogs with flattened faces and short noses are considered “brachycephalic,” and this puts them at a disadvantage in hot climates. Pugs, English Bulldogs, Boxers, Shih Tzus, French Bulldogs, and Boston Terriers have narrow nostrils, an elongated soft palate, and a narrow windpipe, which interferes with their breathing. Since they cannot breathe and pant as efficiently as other dogs, their bodies are prone to overheating.

If you have a brachycephalic dog, take extra care to make sure they are staying cool, hydrated, and comfortable. Limit their activity and keep them inside as often as possible.

Our Orlando, FL, veterinary team is here for you if your pet needs help. If you are concerned about dog heat stroke and believe your pet may be at risk, contact us right away at (407) 298-3807.