Heatstroke and Dehydration: A Dangerous Duo for Dogs

a black and white dog wearing sunglasses

As the summer progresses, the temperature rises as well, bringing us some dangerously hot weather that can be harmful to pets and humans alike if ignored. Because dogs have fur all over their bodies, they’re at a higher risk of dehydration and overheating than humans are.

Most owners are unaware of signs of overheating or dehydration their pups might be exhibiting, which can be dangerous during the summer months when the hot weather is capable of causing serious health issues for pets. Below are some of the main ways to tell if your dog is experiencing dehydrated or heat exhaustion and the exact ways to prevent these issues.

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A woman holding a long leash stands in the breaking waves on a beach at sunset as her dog walks ashore
Summer is the perfect time to spend time outdoors with your pup -- here's how to have a safe summer with your favorite four-legged friend.

Understanding Heat Exhaustion and Dehydration

Heat exhaustion or heatstroke occurs when your pup's body is no longer able to regulate their temperature, causing them to overheat to a point that could cause serious health issues. Dog’s normally regulate their body temperature by panting, but if a dog is past a certain point of heat exhaustion, their respiratory tract won’t clear heat quickly enough, resulting in heatstroke.

Dehydration, on the other hand, is the shortage of water within the body. A dog’s body is comprised of 60% water. That water is essential in making sure the arteries, veins, and tissues work adequately. When there’s not enough water in the body, it’s more difficult for the dog’s body to maintain normal bodily functions and usually results in dehydration.

Either of these issues can spell big trouble for your pup.

Symptoms of Heat Stroke and Dehydration in Dogs

How can you tell if your pooch is experiencing either of the dangerous conditions described above? Glad you asked. When you're outside with your furry friend, keep an eye out for these tell-tale signs that the heat is becoming too much for your dog:

  • Excessive panting
  • Increased salivation
  • Dry, pale gums
  • Quickened pulse
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • fatigue/weakness
  • Stumbling when walking
  • Glazed eyes
A corgi in a pink harness walks along the stone edge of a fountain in a park.
There is a fine line between hot and too hot -- make sure your pup stays safe this summer when you follow these tips.

How to Keep Your Dog Safe in the Summer Heat

It’s important to follow safety procedures when it comes to having your dog outside on a hot day and it could possibly save their life in the long run.

1. Always supervise your pup

First and foremost, never leave your pet outside in the heat for prolonged periods of time without any type of supervision. Overheating is extremely possible in the summer months and without anyone there to try to alleviate their heat exhaustion, the results could be fatal.

If you don’t want your dog to be cooped up in the house all day, but you can’t be there to keep an eye on them at all times, call a friend or neighbor to stop by and take them out for a little. This way someone will always be keeping an eye on your pup making sure they’re calm and cool in the heat.  

In addition to making sure your dog is attended outside in the summer months, you should never leave them alone in a hot car either. This is crucial especially when the summer heat is at its hottest. Cars are much hotter than the environment around them because the radiation from the sun is absorbed through the glass and the air is trapped within the small confines of the car. So if the temperature outside of the car is around 80 degrees, the inside of a vehicle can get to over 102 degrees, leaving your animal in an incredibly dangerous situation.

Leaving the windows down will not save your dog from heat exhaustion either because the heat won’t expel fast enough through the windows to allow your dog’s body to regulate its body temperature.

2. Invest in the right gear to keep your pup hydrated

Making sure your pet has water at all times when they’re playing in the sun can help regulate their body temperature and keep them from overheating. Keep your water in a shaded area that your dog can easily reach. If you’re worried about the water getting warm quickly in the summer sun, add ice cubes to their water bowl. It’s a fun treat for them and it’ll keep the water ice cold for your pup.

You can also try out one of these great dog bowls that are made to keep the water cool and fresh longer.


A Specially Designed Dog Bowl to Keep Your Pup's Water Crisp and Cool
a product image showing the multi-layered insulating technology of frostybowlz
FrostyBowlz keep your pet's water chilled even on the hottest summer days. Photo Courtesy of Amazon.

This chilled dog and cat bowl is equipped with an ice pack that helps keep the water in the bowl cold for long periods of time. Your dog won’t be able to get enough of it.

YETI Boomer 8 Dog Bowl

A Classy Dog Bowl with the Quality You Expect from A YETI Product

a product image of a YETI dog bowl, which is silver on the inside and pale blue on the outside, and features yeti's text logo inscribed in a rectangle with rounded edges
Keep your dog's water cool without the hassle when you invest in a Yeti dog bowl. Photo Courtesy of YETI.

This dog bowl is a little pricier than the frostybowlz bowl, but it’s worth the investment. It has highly insulated walls that can hold up to eight cups of water. It’s also dishwasher safe to make your life a little bit easier.

3. Walk your dog during the coolest times of the day

Most places in the summer can reach up to 90 degrees in heat during the hot parts of the day so it’s super important for your dog’s health to make sure you walk them early enough before the heat sets in, or late enough when the heat has dispersed.

Walking your pup during the heat of the day is a sure fire way to give them heatstroke. Even if it’s overcast there’s a chance their bodies won’t be able to regulate a normal body temperature in the humidity.

The pavement can also burn their paws. Next time you step outside on a hot day with your dog, try placing your bare foot on the hot pavement and see how horrible it feels. It’s the same way for your pup, which is why it’s safest to take them out earlier or later.

The summer is a great time to get outdoors with your four-legged friends. Keep this advice in mind, get outside, and enjoy the sunshine safely! From all of us here at Fauna Care, we hope you are having an awesome summer!

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