Vet reveals key signs your dog is suffering from heatstroke – and how to keep your pooch cool

Vet reveals subtle signs YOUR dog is overheating including panting and excessive drooling – and shares quick ways to keep your pet cool

  • A vet has revealed the key signs your dog is struggling in the hot weather
  • Paula Boyden, veterinary director for Dog’s Trust, busted myths 
  • She explained how to help your dog if they are suffering from heatstroke 

A dog charity has warned dog owners to watch out for their beloved pooches after a heatwave swept the UK, with temperatures set to climb again over the weekend.

With temperatures reaching 40C (104F) this week for the first time ever, and highs of 27C predicted for this weekend, Dog’s Trust has warned our furry friends are at risk of overheating and burning their paws.

The charity has laid out the warning signs to look out for that show your pooch might be in distress.

It has also offered advice to dog owners on ways in which they can keep their pups cool amid soaring temperatures.

A vet has revealed key signs your dog might be in distress and suffering from heatstroke after record temperatures were recorded in the UK

A vet has revealed key signs your dog might be in distress and suffering from heatstroke after record temperatures were recorded in the UK

Paula Boyden, veterinary director for the charity, said it’s ‘crucial’ to keep a close eye on our dogs when the weather is hot, even if they are just mooching around the house.

She told FEMAIL: ‘If you want to spend time in your garden with your dog, make sure they have plenty of shade and if they have shown they are comfortable around water, introduce them carefully to a shallow paddling pool in the shade.

‘If you do need to head out in the car with your dog, please be very careful. As little as 20 minutes can prove fatal if a dog is left alone in a car on a warm day.’

Paula busted a myth she said many people believe – that if you crack open a window while your pooch is in a car, then he/she will be safe. 

But the expert strongly warned against this.

Signs your dog might have heatstroke

According to Dog’s Trust, the most common signs of heatstroke to look out for in your dog are: 

 – Panting

– Difficulty breathing

– Tiredness 

– Unwillingness to play

– Drooling

– Vomiting 

 If you spot any of these signs in your dog, you should take immediate action

 Source: Dog’s Trust


She said: ‘Many people still believe it’s OK if the windows are left open or they’re parked in the shade, but the truth is, it’s not and we strongly advise that dog owners never leave their dog in a car on a warm day, even if it feels cool outside.

‘Severe heatstroke can cause multiple seizures, complete loss of consciousness, loss of coordination, confusion and vomiting and diarrhoea with blood. If untreated it can prove fatal.’

Drawing on her expert knowledge Paula advised dog owners on how best to keep their pooches cool to prevent them from developing heatstroke.

Although dogs love their daily walk, the vet said hot weather is not the time to be helping your pooch get their daily exercise.

If it cools down in the evening or early morning, it is best to take them out then.

When you are taking your dog out, you should make sure to carry plenty of water for them to drink. While at home, they should have access to fresh water at all times. 

Paula stressed the pavements and tarmac can reach very high temperatures in the sun – so you should check the temperature with your hand before letting your dog walk on the ground.

She recommended the ‘five second test’ – and if it’s too hot for your hand, it’s too hot for your dog’s paws. 

You should avoid taking your dog out in the car at all on a hot day but if it cannot be avoided, you should try to travel during the coolest part of the day, she said.

Paula suggested using a cooling mat for your pet to lie on if they need to cool down – but if you don’t have one, you could wrap an ice pack or frozen water bottle in a tea towel instead.

She also suggested using cold treats from the fridge for added moisture, or making an ice lolly from pet-friendly ingredients.

Finally, Paula reminded dog owners their pets are also at risk of sunburn despite having fur coats – so you should use pet-safe sun cream to protect their skin.

Paula said if dogs exhibit signs of heatstroke, owners should take immediate action.

Firstly, she urged people to stop exercising their dogs immediately and get them to some shade or a cool area.

If possible, she said you should take the dog into an air conditioned car or building and seek veterinary advice.

Paula also advised giving the dog some water at room temperature and allowing them to drink it gradually.

If the dog is conscious, Paula said you should pour small amounts of cool water onto their body and repeat this process until their breathing starts to settle – but make sure they do not start to shiver.  

Paula advised against using wet towels to cool down dogs, as this can restrict air flow and make the dog’s body temperature rise even further. 


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