Dog Days of Summer

Dogs, like humans, can be affected by excessive heat.  They may suffer from dehydration, sun burn and/or heat stroke.  Dogs do not sweat through their skin like humans do.  Instead they pant and sweat through the nose and paw pads.  If the dog cannot expel heat effectively, internal temperature will rise and could lead to irreversible damage to internal organs.  Especially prone are short-nosed dogs such as bulldogs and pugs.


Here are the signs of heat stroke in dogs:

  1. Rectal temperature of 104 degrees or higher
  2. Excessive panting
  3. Collapse or inability to get up
  4. Dark red gums
  5. Dry mucous membranes, including gums
  6. Disorientation


You can prevent heat stroke by avoiding vigorous exercise in the mid-day heat and by providing frequent drinks of water.  Never leave your dog in a car, even with the windows open as cars may heat very quickly.  If any signs of heat stroke are noted, immediately move the dog to a cool place and cover with cool cloths (not ice cold) and provide cool water.  Then, bring your dog for a veterinary exam to rule out internal damage.

Sunburn is more of a concern with short-haired and shaved dogs.  These dogs may benefit from light clothing to protect their skin.

Hot pavement can cause burns to paw pads.  If your dog is exposed to hot pavement during walks, consider purchasing walking boots to protect the pads from burn.