Caring for Your Dog During a Heatwave

While crazy temperatures sweep the northern hemisphere, with massive heatwaves affecting Europe, Canada, and North America, the world feels wilder than ever. But, while we struggle with the heat ourselves, we shouldn't forget our furry friends and how the heat will affect them.

Let's understand the symptoms of heatstroke in dogs and learn a couple of tips to help keep your pup cool and calm during a heatwave.

Symptoms of heatstroke in dogs

Heatstroke, also called hyperthermia, can be fatal in dogs if left untreated. Dogs are notoriously bad at dissipating their body heat as they do not sweat as humans do.


Early signs of heatstroke can include:

  • Panting
  • Excessive production of saliva (hyper-salivation)
  • Dry mucous membranes (gums, inner cheeks)
  • Raised heart rate
  • Dogs may also become hyperactive and excitable


If the dog continues to be exposed to higher temperatures, its condition will worsen, and the following symptoms may present:

  • Signs of shock such as pale mucous membranes, an elevated heart rate and a drop in blood pressure
  • Hyperventilation (rapid breathing)
  • Severe dehydration
  • Dilated pupils
  • Irregular pulse
  • Muscle tremors
  • Collapse
  • Coma

NOTE: Overweight dogs or specific breeds of dogs, such as brachycephalic dogs that have a short snout such as pugs and British bulldogs, may be more susceptible to the effects of warmer weather.


Tips for keeping your dog cool

  • You should always ensure your dog has access to clean, fresh water that is refreshed at least once daily.
  • You should NEVER leave your dog alone in a car, but especially on warmer days as the inside temperature of vehicles can climb quickly, even with the windows slightly open.
  • Ensure your dog has somewhere cool to rest on those warmer days, such as under a shady tree or on a covered porch.
  • Limit strenuous exercise or do a shorter walk than usual and only during the cooler times of the day, such as the early morning or early evening.
  • Your dog may appreciate a small wading pool full of water to cool off in
  • You can make frozen dog treats from natural peanut butter, some fruits and vegetables, and their favorite treats or biscuits.