How to Avoid Your Dog Getting Heatstroke

How to avoid heatstroke

You wouldn’t want them to get heatstroke would you?

This very useful text was posted in Italian on the Facebook page: Adotta Un Cane Dal Canile. I have translate it into English and changed it a little bit. I hope you find it useful, I certainly did.


In summer the most deadly and underestimated danger for our four legged friend is undoubtedly heatstroke. Many dog owners aren’t aware that heatstroke can kill a dog in an instant. To avoid this happening we need to understand how a dog’s physiology works:

The average temperature of a dog is 38.5 °C and for that reason it’s more susceptible than we are to heat stroke.

To lower their temperature when they’re somewhere that’s too hot, dogs can’t sweat like we can. So to lower their temperature they breathe rapidly through their mouth leaving their damp tongue hanging out: this makes the saliva evaporate and thus cool their body. Panting is the main method they have for cooling down.

When it’s very hot, humid and there’s no ventilation, this system can’t work any more and the dog’s temperature inevitably starts to rise. If nothing is done or inadequate treatment is administered, the rising temperature will cause the dog to go into shock and it will then collapse and die in a very short time.


  • The dog is very agitated, much more than normal, restless and anxious.
  • It pants excessively, quickly and is almost gasping for breath because of the increased heart rate.
  • The gums and skin inside the eyes are very obviously red, sometimes violet that can quickly turn to blue as the oxygen in the blood decreases.
  • It starts to become uncoordinated and confused.
  • It may salivate excessively and vomit.
  • Loss of consciousness, coma and death quickly follow.
  • Convulsions and coma happen when the dog is in an advanced stage of heatstroke and immediate intervention is necessary.


  • Move the dog immediately into the shade
  • Bathe it with cool (not cold) water or pure alcohol if there is any available as this helps the dog lose heat quickly thanks to its ability to evaporate quickly.
  • For the same reason, and if any is available, dry ice helps even more.
  • If possible have a fan on. This is better than air conditioning which may cause problems because of the strong drop in temperature it can give.
  • Comfort the dog while cooling it down and call the vet immediately.
  • Reassuring the dog helps avoid stress if you have to put him in the car and he is frightened as this can just make matters worse.
  • You need to calm him as much as possible during the cooling down activities and on the way to the vets.
  • An immediate vets visit is essential. A professional needs to treat the effects of shock, efficiently lower the dog’s temperature, examine the dog throughly to make sure there is no permanent damage and to prescribe the correct treatment.


  • Don’t ever take the dog out (on the lead or – worse -by attaching the lead to a bike) during the hottest period of the day.
  • NEVER shut it in the car, even in the shade with the windows open. That is just not enough to cool him down on a hot day. Keep that uppermost in your mind. If just a few sun rays hit the car it creates a fatal trap.
  • Anyone who sees a dog in a hot car is allowed to call the authorities to save it from a terrible end.
  • During hot summer days it’s a good idea to bathe your dog frequently, using a wet tower, stat at his paws and work your way around his body and head.
  • Make sure he has plenty of water available in a shady, well ventilated spot.
  • Use other means to keep him cool, for example give him an ice cube to lick, let him play with a cotton bone that has been in the freezer or give him a Kong filled with frozen cream cheese.

Make sure you enjoy the hot summer days with your best friend, but never forget that too much heat kills and it is our duty as owners to protect our pets from this danger.

You might like to read about one method I use to keep my dog cool here.

How to Cool a Dog Down in Hot Weather

Lab ZsaZsa wearing her towel

ZsaZsa wearing her towel

Our lab ZsaZsa has always suffered from the heat, despite being born in Italy. Now she is ten, it is even worse and although there has hardly been any hot weather to speak of so far this year,  she still has panting fits.

I have found the best solution for her is to drape her in a towel that has been soaked in cold water and wrung out. She looks rather Mata Hari-ish, but it does seem to cool her instantly and have a very soporific effect, like an instant tranquiliser!

At night I sleep with the windows open and drape her in her towel then turn on a floor standing fan. She is quite capable of shaking the towel off and moving away from the fan if she wants, but I have found she just likes the sensation and crashes out.

Read about the dangers of heatstroke here.

Dog on a Hot Tin Roof

Gassie on the car roof

Gassie on the car roof

Gassie the rescue Setter has always been a bit of a climber, but today he really excelled himself. The car is parked under some pine trees and there are tiny young birds hopping temptingly in the very high branches above.

So what better way to get a good view than to get on the car roof?

Gotta love him!

Italian Greyhound (Piccolo Levriero Italiano)

Italian greyhoundThis delicate, elegant and fragile looking creature looks just like a greyhound but its small size classifies it as a toy breed.

The name in translation is “small Italian harehound” and that is indeed what they were originally intended for – hunting hares and rabbits.

They can reach up to 60 km per hour (37 miles per hour) over short distances.


These beautiful and exotic looking dogs have their origins in Ancient Egypt where they were part of the Pharaohs’ court. By the end of the 5th century BC they were fairly widespread in the Mediterranean region.

They soon became prized dogs of the Romans and the Italian aristocracy and because of their regal bearing became to be associated with wealth and luxury. But the bottom line is that they are sporting dogs bred for the hunt.

Physical Characteristics

They have short hair and a refined and elegant head with large expressive eyes. Their ears are relatively small and when not focussing on something when they are erect, they are carried quite flat to the head, giving the dogs its characteristic submissive look. This submissive effect is reinforced by its tail which is usually carried between the legs, but does not mean the dog is afraid or timid.

The Italian Greyhound (soemtimes also known as an IG) has a characteristic and very pretty high stepping gait and is very graceful when it moves.

It should be of one overall colour, black, grey or “isabelline” which is defined as pale grey-yellow, pale fawn, pale cream brown or parchment – you know it when you see it!. There may be white on the feet or chest.


male/female: 32 – 38 cm at the shoulder. (12 – 15 inches)


male/female: max 5 kg (11 lbs)


The Italian greyhound is very intelligent, gentle and good natured and is a real sun-worshipper, loving to bask in the rays whether that is outside or on the top of a couch!

Some people have described the little dog as very “catlike” in its behaviour, because of the love of a warm spot to curl up in and of being high up on the furniture!
But never forget his origins. He is a hunting dog and given to what I call “a mad half hour” tearing around like a loon.

He is also a pretty good jumper and can scale up to six feet, so you’ll need to think about having your garden well fenced when you get one of these little chaps.
Italian greyhounds love racing about and leaping all over the place and this does mean that they can be prone to breaking their all too slender legs.

Because they are sensitive souls who are not keen on being unexpectedly grabbed or jumped on, they are probably not the best choice for a family with young kids.

Another quirk of the breed is that they can be hard to housetrain as they dislike any physical discomfort, such as going outside in the rain or snow.

They have an independent streak when it comes to training, as do all hunting dogs. They need a firm but gentle training regime and always be aware of the prey drive. If they have a running, flapping or squeaking creature in their sights they will set off in pursuit and completely ignore you.

Italian Greyhound Products

If you are the proud owner of one of these beautiful dogs then no wonder you want to shout it from the rooftops. Have a look at some of the products below as a gift for yourself or the Italian greyhound lover in your life.


Lagotto Romagnolo

Lagotto romagnoloIf you have ever heard of – or dreamed of – a truffle dog then this is the one! It can find the elusive, valuable scented fungus anywhere and is apparently the only breed of dog that has been specifically developed with this amazing and useful characteristic.

Its name literally means “Romagna lake dog” and it originates from this south eastern part of present day Emilia Romagna, a region in the north of Italy above Tuscany.


The Meeting with Lagotto detailThe Lagotto is a water dog and can trace its origins back to at least the 16th century, if not earlier.

In the painting The Meeting by Italian master Andrea Mantegna, you can see what looks very much like a Lagotto Romagnolo with its hairy paw raised as it stands behind its master’s legs.

Physical Appearance

The Lagotto is a small to medium sized dog. It is compact and sturdy looking with non-shedding curly, wooly fur and has a moustache, beard and hairy brows! Colour varies from off-white, white with brown or ginger patches to brown all over in various shades or ginger. It can be a good dog for people with allergies as the fur is not shed.


Males are 43 – 48 cm at the shoulder (17 – 19 inches)

females: 41 – 46cm at the shoulder (16 – 18 inches)


male: 13 – 16 kg (28 – 35 lbs)

female:11 – 14 kg (24 – 30lbs)


They are a long-lived breed with an average lifespan of 10 -12 years but often living into their teens.


The Lagotto is an affectionate and extremely intelligent dog that gets very attached to its owner. It is easily trained and obedient, although it is important that you do train them or you may get walked all over!

As with many hunting dogs, it is a wonderful companion dog and family dog as well as being a good truffle hunter. Unlike many hunting breeds it has had the hunting instinct for game virtually bred out of it and so tends not to be distracted by wildlife ad the thrill of the chase when it is out and about on the search for truffles! A Lagotto loves swimming and digging and a range of other activities.

Lagottos have very good hearing and are good guard dogs. They can be quite territorial and warn of approaching strangers trying to get onto “their” turf.

Lagotto Romagnolo Products

Love your Lagotto or know someone who does? Then show it with one of these cool products.