Heatstroke in dogs

When a dog gets too hot and is unable to reduce its body temperature by panting, it will develop heatstroke - which can kill. Do you know what symptoms to look out for?

Warning signs of heatstroke

  • Heavy panting
  • Excessively drooling
  • The dog appears lethargic, drowsy or uncoordinated
  • Collapsed or vomiting

See a dog in a hot car displaying any signs of heatstroke? Dial 999 immediately.

Emergency First Aid for dogs

Dogs suffering from heatstroke urgently need to have their body temperature lowered gradually for the best chance of survival.

Here's what to do:

  • Move the dog to a shaded and cool area
  • Immediately pour cool (not cold to avoid shock) water over the dog. If possible, you can also use wet towels or place them in the breeze of a fan
  • Allow the dog to drink small amounts of cool water
  • Continue to pour cool water over the dog until their breathing starts to settle, but not too much that they start shivering

Once the dog is cool, take them to the nearest vet as a matter of urgency.

Some types of dogs are more prone to heatstroke, like very old or young dogs, dogs with thick, heavy coats or dogs with very short flat faces like pugs and bulldog types. Dogs with certain diseases or on some types of medication are also more at risk. 

Follow the links below to learn more about what to do with dogs in hot cars.

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