Our weather has become unpredictable. We now have new weather, such as “atmospheric rivers” and “heat domes.” We never seem to know from one week to the next what is really going to happen. Rain? More rain? Hail? Sun? Or the dreaded Heat Dome?

We all can agree that the weather is changing, and here on the Pacific West Coast, we need to be ready for anything. Here, we will talk about heat, how you can keep your dog and cat cool before they heat up, and what you can do if a sudden heat wave happens and your pet, unused to the temperature change, overheats too quickly. We’ll also discuss what to look for if your pet is overheating and when you should call your veterinarian.

Mother Nature Garden Centre - how to keep your pets cool in the summer -swimming dog

Signs Your Pet Is Overheating 

While your pet can’t come to you and say, “Hey! I’m so hot! Let’s go cool off,” there are many other signals you can learn from your dog or cat that they are overheating. Signs that your dog is overheating include shortness of breath and excessive panting, excessive drooling, elevated body temperature, abnormal thirst, gum or tongue colour change (bright or dark red), disorientation, stumbling, weakness, shakiness, and vomiting.

Signs that your cat is overheating include breathing rapidly, racing pulse, elevated body temperature, gum or tongue colour change (dark red or grayish), disorientation, stumbling, weakness, shakiness, and vomiting.

-beat the heat keeping your dog and cat cool

What to Do If Your Pet Shows Heat Stroke Symptoms

Even when we do all we can do to keep our pets cool and safe, sometimes they decide for themselves to run around and be silly and overheat. Now that you know what to look for, here is what you can do if you suspect your dog or cat has heatstroke.


For Dogs:

  • Reduce core temperature; dogs’ normal, ideal temperature is 101.5°F, while the moderate temperature is 103-106°F and overheated is 106°F and above.
  • You can submerge your dog up to its armpits in the water if you are near a pond, stream, creek, lake, or beach. 
  • If there is no water source available, use a cool, wet towel to cool off over the neck, under the armpits, between the hind legs, and the groin area. Wet their ear flaps and paws. 
  • Offer cool fresh water for your dog to drink. Never force your dogs to drink; if they do not drink, wet their tongue and the inside of their mouth. Don’t use ice, as this will cool their core temperature too fast and may shock the system.
  • Use a fan to create a breeze.
  • Move your pet into an already cooled air-conditioned vehicle.
mother nature garden centre- hot to keep pets cool in the heat - cat licking ice cubes

For Cats:

  • Reduce core temperature; cats’ normal temperature is 100.5 – 102.5°F. 104°F and above is overheated.
  • Move your pet to a cool spot.
  • Offer water, but never force. If your pet will not drink, wet its tongue and inside of the mouth. Don’t use ice, as this will cool your cats core too quickly and shock their system.
  • Spray cool water onto your cat’s fur.
  • Use a cool, damp towel to cool between the legs, armpits, and groin area.
  • Use a fan to cool to create a breeze.
  • Move your pet into an already cooled air-conditioned vehicle.


If your efforts to cool your pet do not seem to be working or you are still concerned, it would be a good idea to seek veterinary care. Give them a call and explain your pet’s symptoms. Have their current temperature ready for the phone call to help your vet determine if you need to come in or if they can assist you over the phone.

-keeping your pet cool is your key to beating the heat this summer

Beat-the-Heat Tips

Knowing what to do when your pet ever has heat stroke can give you peace of mind but avoiding heat stroke for your pets is always the best way to keep your pet safe and allow both of you to enjoy the summer heat! Here are some cool ways to keep your pet from overheating during the summer heat.

-when its hot- get wet and get cool

For Dogs:

  • Use a cooling vest or bandanna
  • Use a cooling bed
  • Take your pet swimming for water fun
  • Stick to shady spots outdoors
  • Provide plenty of cool, fresh water
  • Provide your pet with frozen treats and toys to keep cool with
  • Stay off the pavement, stick to the grass
  • Keep your pet out of a vehicle as much as possible
-all the cool cats get fans when its hot

For Cats:

  • Use a cooling bed
  • Keep a fan blowing to create a breeze
  • Close curtains to create shade in the home
  • Provide fresh water in a moving water fountain to encourage drinking
  • Offer frozen or cold “creamy” cat treats
  • Open windows for cross breezes

Your best defence will always be to keep your pet cool before he heats up. Plan to keep your pet indoors or in an air-conditioned environment during an excessive heat wave. Use cool water as a fun and interactive way to keep cool. Most of all, stay close to your pet and never leave them unattended for lengthy periods during a heat wave.


For more information about keeping your pets safe in the heat, visit us at Mother Nature!