Dogs That Overheat: How to tell if your adorable dog has heatstroke, how to treat the condition and how to prevent it from happening
With summer finally here and the first heatwaves of the year predicted for large parts of the UK, here’s everything you need to know about heatstroke in dogs.
Heatstroke can be a serious illness that is caused by a dog overheating and being unable lower their body temperature.
If left untreated the elevated body temperature can lead to seizures, organ failure and even death.
The most common cause is excessive exercise but heatstroke can occur just from being in the sun for an extended period – or being left in a hot car.
Any dog can develop heatstroke, but flat-faced dogs are particularly at risk because they struggle to cool themselves down easily.
Retailer Next has partnered with Veterinary Physiotherapist Tilly Wild to share some expert tips on keeping our canine friends safe during periods of hot weather.
Here’s what she had to say.
How to spot signs of heatstroke in dogs
Signs include excessive panting, drooling, bright red gums, shaking, vomiting, diarrhoea, seizures and collapse in severe cases.
How to prevent heatstroke in dogs
Our dogs can still enjoy spending time with us in the glorious weather, but it’s important we’re taking the right steps to ensure they’re kept cool, especially when the temperature begins to exceed 19 degrees.
Prevent heatstroke by avoiding walking your dog during the hottest part of the day. Also ensure they have access to shade and water when playing in the garden, and that pavements are not too hot (check with your hand) and avoid travelling in the car on hot days.
How to treat heatstroke in dogs
The first action to take is to keep them calm and still, take them indoors or into a shady area, give them a drink of cold (not icy) water and also slowly wet the top of their head, feet and ears with the water.
Contact your vet to make an appointment, and put your dog on top of a wet towel, making sure they have plenty of air flowing around them.
Once they seem a bit cooler, start to pour cool water over their body and continue cooling the dog on the way to the vet.
If possible, continue cooling your dog on the way to your vet
Avoid using ice cold water in a paddling pool
It’s important to supervise your dog in the sun to ensure you can spot any signs of concern that may indicate when they’re too hot. While Tilly recommends using a paddling pool to help your dog stay cool in the heat, the water should always be temperature checked first.
Providing a paddling pool is a great way to keep your dog cool in the summer whilst still being able to enjoy the sunshine. But it’s important to supervise and check the water in paddling pools isn’t ice cold- cool or room temperature is ideal to prevent shock.
Invest in a cool mat to help older dogs
Cool mats are a great way to help dogs maintain a healthy temperature in the hot sun.
Cool mats are also useful for older dogs with arthritis, who may find that their painful joints become warm or inflamed during the hotter months. A cool mat can help reduce inflammation and keep them comfortable.