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The April showers have brought May flowers…and warmer temperatures. As we set our sights on the summertime, it’s time to start thinking about preventing overheating in dogs. There are so many fun outdoor activities to enjoy with our dogs in the warmer months. With a bit of care and attention, you can be sure to do so safely. Here are some tips on preventing overheating in dogs:

What Is Overheating in Dogs?

Before we dive into the ways to prevent overheating, we want to give you more information about what heatstroke (overheating) actually is. This condition occurs when an animal can no longer regulate their body temperature and it becomes so high that it causes damage to tissues. In dogs, this is temperatures of 105 degrees Fahrenheit or higher. Similarly, in cats, it is 104 degrees Fahrenheit and higher. Heatstroke can cause:

  • Panting
  • Glazed eyes
  • Increased heartbeat
  • Trouble breathing
  • Excessive thirst
  • Lethargy
  • Fever
  • Dizziness
  • Coordination problems
  • Vomiting
  • Seizures
  • In extreme cases, death

Prevent Overheating in Cars

A locked car traps heat, and within a few minutes, internal temperatures can soar to dangerous levels. Never leave an animal unattended in the car during the summer. If it’s 85 degrees outside, it will take just 10 minutes to get to 102 degrees inside the car (even with the window cracked). In just 30 minutes, it will be 120 degrees inside the car, which can be fatal for pets. Do not bring your dog or cat with you if you have to leave them in the car. They will be much safer at home. 

Watch the Temperatures 

Pay attention to the weather forecast and try not to exercise with your dog outside if it’s going to be an exceptionally hot day. Try to limit walks to the early morning or evening when it will be a little cooler. Pay attention to humidity levels, too, as these can negatively affect your pet’s ability to cool himself. Dogs with short noses can be especially susceptible to high temperatures. 

Provide Plenty of Shade and Water

Whether you are letting your dog outside for some playtime or having a family barbecue and including your furry family, be sure to make it safe for your pets. Always have easily accessible shade and water for pets for when they need some time to cool down. Please be aware that it can actually be hotter inside a dog house than outside, so do not let your dog stay in one long term without supervision. 

Get Help for Overheating in Dogs

If you think your dog is overheated, move him or her into a cooler area (either shaded or air-conditioned). Use ice packs or wet cloths on the head, neck, or chest. If you put them under running water, be sure the temperature is cool, not cold. Bring them immediately to the veterinarian as soon as you’ve cooled them down.


Use our tips to prevent overheating in your dogs this summer. Let’s all stay cool out there.  

At Westarbor Animal Hospital, we want to help you keep your pets happy and healthy throughout their lives. From helpful resources on pet ownership to full-service veterinary care, we are here for you. To learn more or to schedule an appointment, please call (734) 769-5391.

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