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Heat stroke in dogs

Unfortunately every summer we treat dogs with heat stroke, so we wanted to share some tips on how to avoid this condition and what to do if you think your dog has heat stroke.

Dogs rely on panting to keep cool, and can easily overheat in hot weather. Any dog can suffer with heat stroke, but it is more common in dogs with flat faces (brachycephalic dogs e.g. pugs and bulldogs) and dogs that are overweight.

What causes heat stroke in dogs?

Dogs can get heat stroke if they do too much exercise in hot weather. The other cause is the dog being exposed to high temperatures without adequate ventilation or drinking water. Dogs can die from heat stroke quickly if left inside a hot car, but heat stroke can occur in other locations too.

Preventing heat stroke

  • Do not exercise your dog in hot weather; take them for a walk when it is cooler in the early morning or evening.
  • Never leave your dog in a hot car, or in hot rooms.
  • Avoid long car journeys – use air conditioning if possible.
  • Make sure your dog has access to shade and drinking water.
  • Always take water for your dog when out.
  • Spray your dog with cool water.
  • Consider clipping your dog’s coat.

Signs of heat stroke

Signs of heat stroke can include:

  • Panting and drooling.
  • Trying to find somewhere cool to lie down.
  • Dark pink or red gums.
  • Lethargy.
  • Rapid heart rate.
  • Staggering around, glazed eyes.
  • Vomiting and diarrhoea.

Heat stroke can cause multiple organ failure and death.

What to do if you think your dog has heat stroke

If you are worried about your dog, give us a call on 01803 606059 (Torquay) or 843836 (Paignton) for advice and to arrange to bring your dog in to us for treatment. It is important that the dog is not cooled down too quickly, and we can advise on methods to help cool your dog while you are bringing them in to us.

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