Heat Stress & Your Pet

posted: by: js Tags: "Clinic Specials" "News" 

  • Dogs that spend most of their summer days inside are protected from many warm weather hazards, but only if the temperature inside the home remains within a healthy range. In an effort to reduce energy usage and costs, some pet owners shut off fans and air conditioning when they leave the house in the morning and turn them on when they return later in the day.  However if temperatures outside reach dangerous levels so can the temperatures inside.  Being shut inside a hot house can be deadly for your dog. Dogs can’t sweat; they rely heavily on panting to cool themselves off. When the temperature in the environment increases, panting becomes less effective. Instead of turning off the air conditioner, try leaving it on a conservative but comfortable setting (perhaps 76°F) while you are out. Make sure your dog has plenty of fresh water and consider closing curtains to reduce the heating effects of sunlight through the windows. If there are parts of the house that are likely to be cooler, make sure your dog has access to those areas.


  • Dogs outside need to have fresh drinking water and access to a shaded area at all times. 


  • Never leave a dog in a car unattended. Even with the windows cracked on a warm day the temperature in the car can rise quickly. On a 70 degree day the temperature in a car can rise to 89 degrees within ten minutes and 104 degrees within 30 minutes!!! 


(This chart was originally published in the journal Pediatrics. It also appears on the American Veterinary Medical Association site page about pet safety in cars.)

Initial signs of heat toxicity include:

  • Panting
  • Excessive salivation (which is often thick and ropey)
  • Weakness
  • Collapse
  • Bright red membranes of the mouth, tongue, eyes, and sometimes skin in light-pigmented dogs
  • Vomiting and diarrhea can also occur due to damage to the gastrointestinal tract

Contact us if your pet is experiencing any signs of heat stress!!

Let's keep our pups happy and safe this summer season!!