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Heatstroke in dogs - know the signs and what to do

Heatstroke in dogs - know the signs and what to do

Knowing what to do if your dog suffers from heatstroke could save your dog's life. Knowing the signs of heatstroke and acting fast is vital to ensure that your dog fully recovers.

Recognising the signs of heatstroke

When a dog gets too hot and is unable to cool itself by panting, heatstroke can set in. The warning signs to look for are:

  • Heavy panting and difficulty breathing
  • Excessive drooling
  • Appears lethargic / drowsy
  • Collapsed / vomiting / fits

It is important to cool down your dog with cool (not cold) water. Find shade fast, let your dog drink small amounts of water. Once your dog is cool, immediately seek the nearest vet.

The RSPCA has a good article which explains the warning signs and how to administer emergency first aid if your dog has heatstroke. Visit:


Our top tips to minimise the risk of your dog getting heatstroke.

If you really need to walk your dog, it is always better to walk early in the morning or late in the evening. Don’t be tempted to walk your dog when the temperature is at its hottest during the day, as it can cause heatstroke. Dogs can die from walking in hot weather as they can suffer heatstroke, even at moderate heat temperatures. Don’t overdo the exercise in hot weather and try to stay in the shade.

Where possible, keep your dog indoors during the day. Be sure to close the windows, curtains, and shutters to keep the heat out. Use an electric fan to keep the air circulating and to make the rooms as cool as possible. Extreme heat can build up so make sure your dog has plenty of cold, fresh water. Try freezing a chew toy such as a Kong, to keep your dog cool.

Never leave your dog alone in a car during hot weather. Even moderate heat outside the car can cause extreme temperatures inside the car. A car acts like an oven, and it can kill your dog very quickly. Opening the windows is not sufficient as the heat will still build up quickly.

If you are working and your dog is left alone during the day, it is important to check on your dog, especially during hot weather or extreme heat. Arrange for a friend or relative to check on your dog regularly and ensure the water bowl is full.


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