How to Prevent Heat Stroke in Dogs

Living in Australia means living in pretty hot weather conditions, and this can spell disaster for dogs if the proper precautions are not kept. Dogs, unlike humans, don't sweat from their entire bodies. Because of this, they do not tolerate high temperatures as well as humans. In fact, hot weather can be more dangerous to dogs than many dog owners realise; if their internal temperature is raised too high, they are at risk of suffering a potentially fatal heat stroke.

What are the signs of heat stroke?

The signs of heat stroke in dogs include (but are not limited to): 

  • Rapid panting
  • Excessive thirst
  • Excessive drooling
  • Vomiting
  • Lack of energy
  • Glazed eyes
  • Diminished appetite

If you believe your dog has heat stroke, it should be considered a vet emergency as heat stroke can easily prove fatal. In order to avoid heat stroke, it's important to practice prevention. Read on to find out how to keep your dog cool during the scorching Australian summers.

Provide the right conditions

Provide your dog with plenty of access to shade when outside. The beach is best avoided on very hot days as there is little shade available, plus the sand may be uncomfortable on your dog's paws.

Avoid walking on hot asphalt during the hot summer months as this could raise your dog's temperature and, again, burn his paws. Instead, stick to walking on grass or on dirt trails. If you exercise or go for long walks with your dog, do so in the early morning or late evening when the weather has cooled down. 

It's also essential to make sure your dog is well hydrated. When taking your dog for a walk on a hot day, pack plenty of water for both of you. Consider getting a collapsible water bowl, which will make giving your dog a drink on the go a cinch. Also, keep a bowl of water in your yard so your dog has something to hydrate himself with when playing outside at home. Add ice cubes to keep the water colder for longer.

Never leave your dog unattended in your vehicle

It is simply not worth the risk to leave your dog unattended in the car, even on sunny days in the winter as your car still heats up. According to one test, the temperature inside a vehicle can reach higher than 50 degrees Celsius after only five minutes when the outside temperature is 32.5 Celsius, and it can reach over 75 Celsius in less than two hours. In the test, leaving the window open and parking the car in the shade made little difference. Bottom line: If you leave your dog alone in the car, you are risking his life.