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Dogs Owners Warned to Watch Out for Incoming Heatstroke

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By Erika John - - 5 Mins Read
A dog sits outdoor in the sun
Featured | Shutterstock


Animal experts are cautioning that the current heatwave in the UK, with temperatures soaring to a potential 31C, poses health risks for pets.

Pet owners need to be on the lookout for signs of heat stroke, particularly in dogs, as the high temperatures can pose serious dangers to their health.

Dogs Trust Salisbury is cautioning that dogs are not as effective as humans in regulating their body heat.

When dogs get too hot and can't cool down by panting, they can suffer from heatstroke, which can be deadly.

Certain dog breeds, particularly those with flat faces like English Bulldogs, Pugs, and French Bulldogs, are especially at risk in hot weather.

Also read: Heartwarming reasons why dogs enjoy stealing your shoes

What are the Signs of Heatstroke in Dogs?

Signs of stroke in dogs can include heavy panting, excessive drooling, lethargy, drowsiness, and lack of coordination. Severe symptoms may also encompass vomiting, diarrhea, and collapsing.

Four dogs held together on a leash

Featured photo | Matt Newlson/Unsplash

A recent study revealed that almost 75% of heat-related illnesses in dogs in the UK were linked to exertion, with over two-thirds occurring during walks.

If you suspect your dog is experiencing heatstroke, it is vital to act immediately.

Dogs Trust provides the following steps to help:

  • Stop any activity and move your dog to a cool, shaded area.
  • Call your vet urgently for advice and transport your dog there as quickly as possible, keeping the air conditioning on in the car or the windows open.
  • If your dog has collapsed or is struggling to breathe, contact your nearest vet immediately.
  • Dogs Trust also advises never leaving dogs alone in cars, even for a few minutes, as this can be fatal. If you see a dog in distress in a car, call 999 immediately.

Preventing Heatstroke: Animal Heatstroke Symptoms

Agria, the pet insurance provider for The Kennel Club, cautions pet owners about the key signs of heatstroke in dogs, including heavy panting even when not exercising, breathing difficulties, tiredness, stiffness, drooling, confusion, vomiting (which may be bloody), upset stomach (which may be bloody), unsteady walking, collapsing, and seizures.

The Kennel Club spokesman Bill Lambert stresses the importance of keeping dogs cool in summer.

"Unfortunately, dogs aren’t as good at dealing with hot weather as we are. While we can sweat, dogs cool down by panting, but that isn’t enough and can be fatal,"

“Not all owners are aware that it is just as dangerous to exercise their dogs in the heat of the day as it is to leave them in a hot car - and this is especially true for those more at risk of heatstroke, such as overweight, elderly and flat-faced breeds.

“It is, therefore, vital to keep dogs cool this summer, and if showing signs of heatstroke, to get them to the vet as soon as possible,” Lambert said. 

Robin Hargreaves, who is the Senior Veterinary Advisor at Agria Pet Insurance, also stated, “If you suspect your pet has signs of heat stroke, then you should start the following first aid procedures immediately and consult your vet or your emergency out-of-hours service provider. Do not wait until symptoms develop further. The advice is: ‘Cool first, transport second."'