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How To Protect Your Dog From Scorching Heat

english bulldog inside vehicle

The sun is hot! Dogs need protection from the sun just like people do, but there are things us humans can do to protect ourselves that dogs can’t do, like putting on sunscreen.

In Cars

Did you know that in one hour, with air temperatures of 80° F outside, the interior temperature of a car in the sun will reach 120° F? On a sunny 70 degree day, it only takes about a half hour for the temperature inside a car to reach 104 degrees! It you think that’s fast, after one hour, it can reach 113 degrees. That is too hot for dogs – even if the windows are open slightly – and that kind of heat can kill them!

Drinking Water

Fresh, cold water is one of the most important things to avoid heatstroke in dogs! Bring a portable, collapsible bowl on outings to make sure your dog has access to enough drinking water to last the entire time you’re gone. Small amounts of water every 15 to 20 minutes of activity is recommended.

There is such a thing as too much water! About four to eight ounces of water is enough for a dog weighing 45 to 55 pounds to drink in one sitting. After they’ve had time to absorb it, you can give them more water 10 to 15 minutes later. (Purina)

The Asphalt Test

Have your feet ever been burned by the sand at the beach? To dogs’ paws, asphalt (roads) and concrete (sidewalks) are just like sand – they can get really hot! Always test these surfaces by placing your hand on them. If it’s too hot for you, it’s too hot for your dog!

Signs of Heatstroke in Dogs

Anytime you’re out and about with your dog, pay attention to their behavior. If they are panting heavily or falling behind on walk or run, it’s time to find a shady spot to take a break and rehydrate.

Two other things you can watch are the ears and tail. If the ears and tail are up, it’s a pretty good sign your dog is well-hydrated and happy.

Symptoms of heatstroke include:

  • Excessive panting and/or salivating
  • Obvious discomfort
  • Vomiting and diarrhea
  • Disorientation
  • Seizures

If you notice any of the above symptoms, get your dog inside and call your veterinarian or animal emergency center immediately!

Squirting your dog’s chest and armpits with cool water may help, along with rinsing their mouth with water. This helps cool them more effectively, but always consult your veterinarian for proper advice.

Signs of a heatstroke may not appear for several days, so it’s important to monitor your dog beyond outdoor activities as well!


PETAkids has a coloring sheet for kids to color and hang up somewhere to remind parents and adults about the danger of leaving dogs in hot cars. Kids, check with an adult before downloading to make sure they’re OK with it!
Click Here to Download

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