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How to Prevent Heat Stroke in Pets

As temperatures rise, many pets face heatstroke, also referred to as heat stress. When the temperatures go up, so does the number of pets visiting the veterinarian. Unfortunately, many pet owners do not realize that their furry friends can overheat when the weather is hot. Your adventures with your pet during the summer months, especially after a long and cold winter season, can experience some setbacks. Did you know that your animal companion can suffer heatstroke? You need to be aware of the common signs and symptoms of heatstroke to take the appropriate preventative measures to keep your pet cool through the summer.

Heatstroke in Pets

Also known as heat exhaustion or overheating, heat stroke happens when your furry friend’s body temperature goes above the ordinary range. You need to understand that most pets have fewer sweat glands than humans. Therefore, they tend to overheat more easily. Often, they cool off by panting. The moisture that evaporates from their oral cavity helps reduce their body temperature.

Causes of Heatstroke in Pets


Your pet will experience heatstroke when you leave him/her outdoors on hot days. He/she will develop heatstroke in the following circumstances:

  • When you leave your pet inside your car, even when it is not too hot outside.
  • When there is high humidity, even on a relatively low-temperature day.
  • When you leave your pet in a closed house on a hot day with no air conditioning or ventilation.
  • When your animal companion does not have access to water in hot temperatures.
  • When you do not give your pet adequate time to cool off after a day of playing.

Signs of Heatstroke

Pet owners need to understand that heatstroke is a dangerous condition that can be fatal. Therefore, it is important to recognize the warning signs, which can include:

  • Excessive drooling.
  • Seizures.
  • Unusual panting.
  • Sudden collapse.
  • Difficulty breathing.
  • Stumbling or incoordination.
  • Vomiting.
  • Weakness.
  • Diarrhea without or with blood.

Prevention Measures

If you notice any of these signs and symptoms in your pet, you need to take immediate action. Once heatstroke begins, it can progress quite quickly. However, it is better to prevent heatstroke before the condition starts affecting your animal pal.

Any time the temperatures rise, the most important thing you need to do is take your pet indoors and take certain precautions to keep him/her cool. Also, do not leave your pet unsupervised outside on days when temperatures are high. If you have to be at work or anywhere else on such days, keep him/her indoors with air conditioning.

If your pet is obese, elderly, or of a brachycephalic breed, help him/her inside on hot days. This applies to pets with lung or heart disease as well. Furthermore, never leave your pet alone in your parked car for a long period because heat can quickly increase in a closed car even on a day that is not particularly hot.

To learn how to prevent heatstroke in pets, visit Animal Emergency Clinic of San Diego at our office in Poway, California. Call 858-842-5600 today to schedule an appointment.

Experienced Emergency Vet Care

Animal Emergency Clinic of San Diego is a family-run after-hours and critical care hospital, providing veterinary emergency care since 1985. If your pet is experiencing an emergency, contact us to get the help your pet needs.

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(858) 748-7387