Learn the Signs of Pet Heatstroke

Close up of a thermometer hanging on a fence with a panting dog in the background. Many pet owners often don’t realize that dogs suffer much more from heat than humans do, and can suffer heatstroke after something as harmless-sounding as a walk in the park on a summer day. A little knowledge can literally save a dog’s life.

BluePearl veterinarians advise pet owners to be aware of the signs of pet heatstroke due to exertion or exercise this summer.

“Many people typically think of heatstroke being caused by confinement in a hot car, but there are different and more common ways for pets to have a heatstroke,” said Dr. Miryam Reems, emergency veterinarian at BluePearl Veterinary Partners, Tampa, Fla. “Exercising your pet during hot parts of the day is dangerous and deadly.”

When Heatstroke Happens

Heatstroke occurs when a dog’s body absorbs more heat than it can dissipate, either through exercise or exposure. Heatstroke is a medical emergency and should be treated immediately upon the recognition of symptoms.

“Humans sweat, but dogs and cats don’t. When they cool themselves it’s though respiratory measures, which is especially difficult to do in hot conditions,” Dr. Reems explained.  “Without knowing the risks of heatstroke and how to avoid them, pet owners could be literally exercising their pets to death.”

Tips on preventing pet heatstroke:

Dr. Reems also explains, “People who recognize symptoms and can react, tend to have pets that can do better. Any breed, any age pet can get heatstroke.  Heatstroke can happen within just a few minutes.”

Signs of Heatstroke

Learn more about extreme heat and its impact on your pets in this ABC article featuring Dr. Sara Ford, internal medicine veterinary specialist at BluePearl Pet Hospital, Scottsdale, Az.