Just like humans, pets are susceptible to heat-related illnesses. They can quickly become overheated, leading to conditions like heat exhaustion or even heatstroke. Monitoring your pet’s temperature during the warmer months is important for their health, and taking proactive steps to keep them cool, in shaded areas, and hydrated can help prevent heat-related emergencies.

What Temperatures are Dangerous for Pets?

Generally, temperatures above 90°F (32°C) can start to put pets at risk, especially if they are exposed to direct sunlight or high humidity. However, some breeds, such as brachycephalic dogs (those with flat faces) like Bulldogs and Pugs, are more susceptible to heat and can experience distress even at lower temperatures.

How Does Extreme Heat Affect Pets?

It’s important to understand how temperatures affect your pet and the distinctions between heat stress and heatstroke. Heat stress is the initial stage, characterized by panting, restlessness, and an elevated body temperature. If not addressed promptly, it can escalate into heatstroke, a life-threatening condition.

What are the Signs of Heatstroke in Pets?

  • Excessive panting or difficulty breathing.
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Drooling or thick saliva
  • Bright red gums and tongue
  • Weakness or collapse
  • Vomiting or diarrhea
  • Seizures or loss of consciousness

If you suspect your pet is suffering from heatstroke, quick action is crucial. Here’s what you should do:

  • Move your pet to a cool, shaded area immediately.
  • Offer small sips of water to prevent dehydration, but avoid force-feeding.
  • Use room temperature (not ice-cold) water or wet towels to gently lower your pet’s body temperature.
  • Fan your pet to promote evaporation and cooling.
  • Avoid submerging your pet in ice water, which can shock their system.
  • Bring your pet to a veterinarian or an emergency clinic immediately.

How To Protect Your Pet from Extreme Heat

    • Creating a Cool Environment at Home: Ensure your home is a safe haven from the scorching heat by providing access to shaded areas and using fans and air conditioning to maintain a comfortable temperature.
    • Hydration Tips:
      • Always provide access to clean, fresh, cool water.
      • Consider adding ice cubes to their water bowl to keep it cool.
      • Offer ice treats or frozen pet-safe snacks as a refreshing treat.
    • Travel and Outdoor Activity Precautions: If you plan to be outdoors with your pet during hot weather:
      • Walk your pet during cooler times of the day, such as early morning or evening.
      • Use pet-friendly sunscreen on exposed areas, especially if your pet has light-colored fur.
      • Carry water and a portable bowl for on-the-go hydration.
  • Pets don’t sweat: Dogs do not have sweat glands in their skin like humans. Instead, they sweat through their feet and release heat via panting. For this reason, dogs have a more difficult time cooling themselves. 
  • Stay off the Pavement: Remember the ground can heat up in direct sunlight. Check the temperature with your own foot before allowing your pet to walk. Heated pavement can lead to burns and ulcers of the paws, leading to pain and lameness. If it’s too hot for you, it’s too hot for your pet!
  • Knowing Your Pet’s Limits: Every pet is unique, and it’s essential to recognize their tolerance for heat. Factors like breed, age, and health can influence their heat sensitivity. Be attentive to signs of distress, and take immediate steps to cool them down and seek shade.

Urgent Veterinary Care in Mesa, AZ

By recognizing the signs of heat-related distress, taking preventive measures, and knowing your pet’s limits, you can ensure your pet’s safety and comfort during the summer months. Contact East Valley Urgent Pet Care in Mesa, AZ, to speak with a veterinary professional. Whether it’s a question, a potential emergency, or simply seeking advice, our team is here to help you provide the best care possible for your pet.


Megan Usiak-McBeth


Dr. Megan Usiak-McBeth leads East Valley Urgent Pet Care with a philosophy of treating every pet and owner as she would wish to be treated. With a background in emergency veterinary medicine and experience as a veterinary nurse, she is not only technically adept but deeply compassionate, often serving as an advocate for voiceless pets. Beyond her urgent care duties, Dr. Usiak is passionate about educating the next generation of veterinarians and enjoys outdoor activities with her family.

Dr. Megan Usiak-McBeth, BVMS, at East Valley Urgent Pet Care in Mesa, AZ

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