If you suspect your pet is getting too hot, don’t wait. Always act immediately, as heatstroke can rapidly become an emergency.
Take your pet somewhere cooler, and if possible shower them in cool water. Cool not cold is the key here, so don’t use iced water – water that is too cold will actually cause the blood vessels at the skin surface to tighten, making it harder for heat to leave the body. Cool water will help disperse heat fastest, and pets can:
- Be sprayed with water
- Be immersed in cool water (making sure that the nostrils are completely clear of the water and your pet is secure and safe)
- Have a fan on them
- Be offered cool water to drink (but do not force them to drink anything).
If your dog has developed heatstroke, you should always take them to your nearest vet for help, even if the signs are mild. Your vet can assess for any complications, help monitor temperature (don’t forget, pets can get too cold too, so it is important to make sure you don’t over-chill your pet!), and put in place any supportive care.
Pets with mild heatstroke often still need to stay at the vets for monitoring, or if more serious damage has been done, may require more intensive hospitalisation for several days.