Spay & Neuter
Task Force

Be Aware of the Signs and Symptoms of Overheating


If you find your dog is excessively panting, slowing down and not acting like he normally does, you need to cool him off as soon as possible. Heat stroke can be fatal to your beloved pet. Many dog experts state that if the ambiant air temperature is 80 degrees or warmer, or if there is excessive humidity, it is best to leave your dog at home. The risk at this point for heat stroke far exceeds the benefit for exercise.


Heatstroke is a very real and common danger for dogs in the summertime. Animals pant to evaporate moisture from their lungs, which takes heat away from their body. When the air becomes overheated or very humid animals are unable to cool themselves, and their temperature will skyrocket to dangerous levels very quickly.


Heatstroke is a medical emergency!


Signs of heat stress include:
heavy, rapid panting
glazed eyes
anxious behavior
a rapid pulse & heart beat
a staggering gait
profuse salivation
warm, dry skin (particularly on nose)
fever over 102
a deep red or purple tongue


If you suspect your dog is overheated or is suffering from heatstroke, you need to call your vet or an emergency veterinary facility immediately. 

You will also want to bring your dog’s temperature down. Move him to a cooler area and take these emergency steps:


1. Gradually lower his body temperature by applying
cool (not cold) water all over his body or soaking
him in a cool bath.


2. Place cool, wet towels over the back of the neck,
in the armpits, and in the groin area. You may also
wet the ear flaps and paws with cool water. Direct
a fan on the wet areas to speed cooling.


3. You may offer fresh, cool water if your dog is alert
and wants to drink. Do not force your pet to drink.


• Take your pet immediately to a veterinarian—it could save his life.


(Animals that have additional risk factors for heat stroke are the very old, very young, overweight, not conditioned to prolonged exercise, or have heart or respiratory disease. Some breeds of dogs like boxers, pugs and other dogs and cats with short, smushed muzzles, will have a much harder time breathing in extreme heat.)


Never Leave Your Pet in a Parked Car on a Warm Day!


The temperature in a car can exceed 120° in a matter of minutes—even with the windows partially open. Your pet can quickly suffer brain damage or die from heatstroke or suffocation.

* If you see an animal in distress in a parked car, contact the nearest animal shelter or police.

There are more reproducible flyers on the LINKS page.