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Losing Chewy: A Heartbreaking Lesson on Heat Stroke in Dogs

It was a blistering hot summer's day when my best friend lost her beloved black Lab, Chewy. The memory still haunts me to this day.

Thirty minutes into our park visit, despite our efforts to keep Chewy cool with shade and water, disaster struck. Chewy went into shock and suffered a seizure. With the help of an off-duty officer, we rushed him to the nearest animal hospital.

Tragically, Chewy passed away just moments before reaching the hospital, leaving my friend devastated. "I still blame myself," she confided in me later. "I didn't realize the danger of the heat, especially for older dogs."

Sadly, Chewy's story is not uncommon. Heat stroke, or heat exhaustion, is a serious risk for pets, especially during summer months. Dr. Shian Simms, vice president of Bideawee Animal Hospitals, emphasizes the importance of recognizing the signs and taking swift action.

Understanding Heat Stroke

Heat stroke, medically known as hyperthermia, occurs when the body temperature becomes dangerously high. Unlike humans, dogs primarily dissipate heat through panting and sweating through their paw pads and noses. However, these mechanisms are less efficient, making dogs vulnerable to overheating.

Recognizing the Signs

Signs of heat stroke include excessive panting, drooling, weakness, confusion, and vomiting. Dogs with thick coats, preexisting health conditions, or those belonging to "flat nose" breeds are at higher risk.

Prevention Tips

Preventing heat stroke involves keeping dogs hydrated, providing shade, and avoiding excessive outdoor activity in hot weather. Never leave a dog in a hot car, as temperatures can quickly become lethal. Always check the temperature and humidity before outdoor activities.


Losing Chewy was a painful lesson, but it serves as a reminder of the importance of pet safety in hot weather. By understanding the risks of heat stroke and taking preventive measures, we can ensure our furry friends enjoy a safe and comfortable summer.

Remember, vigilance and precaution are key to keeping our pets healthy and happy all year round.


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