Pet heat stroke warningsHeat stroke is a very important issue concerning your pet’s health and depending on what part of the nation you are visiting (and the time of year), it’s important to remember that high temperature, high humidity and poor ventilation can be a threat not only to humans but to pets as well. Temperatures can rise very quickly in a parked vehicle (even with the windows cracked). 

Dogs and cats do not sweat as people do. Thus, the cooling benefits of water evaporation from the skin are not available to them. Panting and radiation of heat from the skin surface are their main means of controlling body temperature. If the air temperature and humidity are high and air circulation is reduced, these protective mechanisms are inadequate. Body temperature can then increase dramatically, resulting in collapse and severe shock. Animals not treated promptly may die. Dogs with short “pushed-in” noses, such as Pugs, Bulldogs, Pekingese and Boxers, are especially susceptible to heat stroke, since their restricted breathing doesn’t allow enough air exchange for rapid heat loss.

Heat stroke is a common and lethal problem. Heat stroke is due to an increase in body temperature generally related to high environmental temperature or inadequate ventilation. The process involves the dilation of blood vessels in response to high body temperature. As blood begins to collect in the vessels, the blood pressure in the body drops rapidly. With blood circulation down, the bodies’ own cooling mechanisms stop and core body temperature can reach over 109°F (normal = 101.5°F). As the body temperature continues to rise, sensitive cells (including those in the brain and lining the intestinal tract) die. The progression of clinical signs starts with weakness and blank/dazed expression, vomiting, diarrhea, muscle cramping and shaking, eventual collapse and death.

If you think your pet is experiencing heat stroke, the best first aid is to submerge him in cool water, and then seek treatment. Prevention is simple: Provide plenty of fresh, cool water daily and a well-ventilated shelter. Animals should NEVER be locked in a vehicle — even with the windows cracked — or tied up in a yard or pen without shade. If you suspect your pet may have become overheated, you should call your veterinarian immediately. When traveling, it’s always a good idea to take with you a list of emergency pet clinics or veterinarians in the areas you plan to visit.

By using common sense and being aware of the warning signs of heat stroke, you can help keep you and your pets safe in hot conditions.

Happy Pet Travels!

Tom James

Leave a Reply


  1. Pingback: my homepage

  2. Colleen

    Yes. I don’t know the name of the thing but I read about some type of thermostat was was wired to your generator. When the temperature goes above a certain degree (because the A/C stopped) it automatically starts the generator and maintains the temperature you preset. Check on line or at a RV center to find out more. You are on the right track. It is out there keep looking.

  3. I work out of my RV and on occasion must leave my dog in the motor home for several hours. I am constantly afraid that if the A/C were to fail, the temperature inside would reach deadly levels in just minutes.

    Have you ever heard of a temperature alarm that would sound if the temp inside were to drop below a certain setting?