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Dog advice: what to do if your pet gets heatstroke

An over-heated dog is in serious danger, so know the risks

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Getting warm under the collar

A warm spell of weather is something most of us look forward to but when things hot up, you should remember that your dog could suffer. If your pet’s body temperature rises above safe levels it can get very ill, and severe heatstroke can be fatal.


Heatstroke can take hold very quickly, so it is important that you look out for the symptoms and take action if you are worried. Signs of heatstroke in your dog include panting a lot, salivating, dark red gums, a fast heartbeat, and anxious behaviour. If the heatstroke is severe, your pet could collapse.

What to do

Don’t wait for things to get worse. If you suspect your dog is getting too hot, take them somewhere cooler and, if at all possible, shower them with cool water, particularly round the head and neck. However, do not use iced water! Let your dog drink as much as it wants in small quantities at a time, and massage its legs to keep blood flowing. A fan will help with cooling.

Call your vet

Because heatstroke can take hold quickly, it can be difficult for you to tell how serious the situation is. If you suspect your dog is suffering from heatstroke, call a vet immediately as urgent treatment might be needed.