Hot Dog Summer: Tips to keep your pets safe

As the temperatures get hotter this summer, it’s important not to forget about our furry better halves.  

Dogs can and do suffer the same heat-related illnesses that people do and can become seriously ill or even die from heat-related illnesses.

According to VCA Hospitals, a dog’s normal body temperature is between 100-103° depending on breed. Northern breed dogs, like malamutes, huskies, or Newfoundlands are at higher risk due to their thick coats. Pugs, boxers, bulldogs, and other flat-faced dogs are at similar risk since their short snout reduces their ability to cool down.


On a hot, humid day like Austin in the summer, a dog can easily run itself into dangerous heat. Once their body temperature rises above 103° it is a sign of heat exhaustion and is in danger if action isn’t taken immediately to cool your little buddy down.

At temperatures of 106° or higher heatstroke can occur. Heatstroke can lead to serious, life-altering complications and even death if not appropriately handles.

Signs of heat exhaustion are excessive panting and drooling, discolored gums, lethargy or disorientation, and dizziness. Each can happen individually so it’s important to watch your dog closely in the heat.

If your dog does exhibit any of these symptoms, VCA hospital says removing them from the heat and cooling them down is a must.  

The simplest way to help your dog cool off is to bring him or her into an air-conditioned space and give them extra water to drink.  Often that will be enough to bring their body temperature back under control as they rest and settle down.


If that doesn’t work wetting them with lukewarm or cool – not cold – water will help. For small dogs and puppies, VCA says to use lukewarm water so their body temperature doesn’t drop too quickly.

If at any time your dog loses consciousness, has a seizure, or vomits during the cool-down process it’s very important to get them to the vet immediately. That is a sign of heatstroke which can lead to kidney failure, shock, and even death.

Easy ways to keep your best fuzzy buddy safe in the summer heat include taking runs and long walks in the early morning and providing plenty of water for them while at dog parks or outside. While on walks keep in mind that pavement temperatures can very quickly exceed 170° which will burn a dog’s paws. Easier still, take dogs to play in local streams, creeks, rivers, and lakes. And of course, never leave your dog in the car.

FOX 7 Austin Meteorologists update the forecast on-air, online, and on social media. You can also receive updates by downloading the FOX 7 Austin WAPP.