The Dangers of Heat Stroke in Our Pets

Heatstroke Awareness

A few weeks ago, Dallas Pet CPR & First Aid Education kicked off the summer with our good friends at Operation Kindness’ 20th Dog Day Afternoon! This is one of our favorite events every year, and each year we come across so many pet owners that we can teach! This year didn’t disappoint!

After our Pet CPR demo, we came across so many dogs in heat distress and several that we sent immediately to veterinary care. As we always do at outdoor events, we offered free temperature checks on any dog that caused their owner’s concern. There were countless dogs that we equipped with instant ice packs and recommended air conditioning immediately. Many questions were asked by those owners, and we want to share all the answers with you.

What are the signs of heatstroke in my pet?

Internal Body Temperature above 103°

Foaming at the Mouth or “Bubbles”

Lethargy/Uncoordinated Movements – Staggering/Weakness

Uncontrollable and Loud Panting

Rapid Heart Beat

Gums & Tongue Initially Bright Red


What causes Heatstroke & How can I prevent heat stroke?

Confined Space

Little Ventilation

No Water/Dehydration

High Humidity!!!


**Dogs cool themselves by panting – Short-nosed breeds are more susceptible (Bulldogs, Pugs, Boston Terriers, Mastiffs, St Bernards, Pekinese, etc.)

What should I do if I suspect my dog of being overheated?

Restrain as necessary

Bathe or hose with COOL (not cold) water

**COLD causes restriction of blood vessels preventing the cooler blood from traveling throughout the body, and cooling too fast can cause the body to go into shock

Place them in a cool, ventilated environment if available as soon as possible

Wrap in a damp sheet – Continue to cool pet until they stop panting

Treat for shock

Monitor temperature to ensure it is dropping – Important to know how high their temperature was, to begin with

Contact Vet & Transport

Is heatstroke REALLY that serious? I’m only going into the store for a few minutes.

YES! It is fatal to your pet and can happen SO FAST!

Not to mention, pet theft is on the rise and is part of many gang initiations – They will sell pets on Craigslist and Medical Research Facilities. It is NEVER worth the risk…

No, cracking your windows is not enough!

No, turning your A/C on and locking your car with a remote is not good enough – There was a horrible incident where the dogs were jumping around, and they hit the heat… and still died of heatstroke.

Take your pets home or even call the store and ask if they will allow your pet this time. Aside from food establishments, a lot of managers will make an exception. They want the sales, and they don’t want negative reviews or media. You’d be surprised how many stores allow dogs!

What should I do if I see a pet in a car?

If you’re in Dallas, call 311 and 911 – All other cities, call Animal Control AND 911

Walk into the nearest stores and ask the manager to page their customers (Threaten negative media attention if they refuse)

Do NOT get the dog worked up – If the dog is barking and getting upset, it will exacerbate their temperature!

Please understand that although we will never understand why people ever take the chance to leave their pets in their car, we need to make sure you know that you can be charged with criminal destruction of property if you break into someone’s car. I’m saying this because I have.