How to Keep Your Dog Safe From Heatstroke This Summer

Summer is an especially exciting season for playtime and various outdoor activities. However, hot temperatures put your dog at risk of overheating.

This is especially true if you have a snub-nosed breed like a pug or bulldog. It’s critical that you understand the dangers of heatstroke and how to keep your dog safe from this potentially fatal condition.

What are the common symptoms of heatstroke?

A bulldog having some summer fun in the yard

A bulldog having some summer fun in the yard. (Source)

Catching heatstroke at the onset significantly lowers its health consequences. Make sure you keep an eye out for the following signs that your dog is suffering from heat exhaustion:

  • Heavy panting
  • Excessive drooling
  • Hot to touch
  • Bright red tongue & gums
  • Lethargy & lacking response
The effects of heat exhaustion could progress very quickly. If you aren’t able to reverse your dog’s condition, their symptoms may worsen to the following:
  • Hyperventilation
  • Pale pink or blue gums
  • Pupil dilation
  • Muscle tremors
  • Seizures
  • Comatose

What should you do if your dog is showing signs of heatstroke?

A pitbull panting in the shade

A pitbull panting in the shade. (Source)


Consider heatstroke as an emergency situation. Don’t panic, but when you notice that your dog is exhibiting signs of heat exhaustion, take them to the shade immediately.

Wipe their entire body with a wet towel and use a fan to keep them sufficiently ventilated. Then, take them to the nearest vet for a thorough evaluation.

What breeds are most prone to heatstroke?

@little_lil_pug and her sister keeping cool outside wearing the Athleisure Dog Harness in Pink and Lilac

@little_lil_pug and her sister keeping cool outside wearing the Athleisure Dog Harness in Pink and Lilac.
recent study has revealed the top 10 breeds that are most prone to heat-related illness:
  1. Chow-Chow
  2. Bulldog
  3. French Bulldog
  4. French Mastiff
  5. Greyhound
  6. Cavalier King Charles Spaniel
  7. Pug
  8. Golden Retriever
  9. English Springer Spaniel
  10. Boxer
Unsurprisingly, seven out of the top ten breeds are brachycephalic dogs. The short structure of their snouts makes it more difficult to pant and regulate temperature. So if you have one of these breeds or one with similarly snubbed noses, make sure you’re extra careful in the summer.

What can you do to keep your dog from getting heatstroke?

Frenchies @moppie_and_chef out and about with the Athleisure Harness Set in Green and Blue
Frenchies @moppie_and_chef out and about with the Athleisure Harness Set in Green and Blue.
  • Bathe and brush often. Dead fur and dander can accumulate around your dog’s body and contribute to the heat. Making sure they’re properly groomed will help keep them cool.
  • Use cool accessories. Vests that cover most of your dog’s body could contribute to heat exhaustion. For bulldogs and other brachycephalic breeds, even collars might make it more difficult to breathe. Your best bet are comfortable dog harnesses that keep their bodies well ventilated.
  • Regulate outdoor time. Dogs naturally play to their heart’s content and they don’t typically know how to regulate. It’ll be up to you to make sure they don’t play or exercise to the point of heat exhaustion.
  • Provide plenty of water. Make sure that your dog always has access to fresh, cool water. This will keep them hydrated and help them regulate their temperature.

Don’t let the possibility of a heatstroke spoil the sunshine. By all means, enjoy your dog’s company and make the most of the warm weather.

Just make sure you do what you can to keep your dog cool and comfortable, and always keep an eye out for signs of overheating. As long as you know what to watch out for, you should have a fun, safe, and trouble-free summer.