If you’re out walking with your furry friend in hot weather, keep a close eye on them especially if they seem to be panting and/or drooling excessively, or refuse to walk further. Should this happen, they may be overheating. Left unchecked, this can quickly lead to an even more sinister condition – heatstroke.
Dog heatstroke occurs when they can no longer regulate their body temperature. It’s a really serious condition that can cause organ failure, seizures, brain damage and even death. Once your dog reaches this stage, quick medical attention is a must.
Dogs most at risk of heatstroke are puppies, big, furry or brachycephalic breeds, and overweight pooches. But it’s worth noting any dog is susceptible in hot weather.
Serious symptoms of dog heatstroke
- Very heavy panting
- Thick saliva
- Limb weakness
- Losing consciousness
What to do
If your dog shows signs of overheating (excessive panting, slowly down and/or refusing to walk further):
- Get them out of the sun
- Offer them water
- Use a damp towel or cool water to wet their body
If they don’t seem to be recovering and/or exhibit any of the more serious symptoms above, get them to the vet ASAP.
As with most things in life, prevention is always best. Follow these tips to help your best friend avoid heatstroke:
- Don’t leave them out in high temperatures – if you can’t, ensure they have proper shade
- Keep them hydrated with access to water at all times
- Be smart about when you take them for walkies – aim for coolest part of the day
- Watch them carefully when walking for signs of heat stress
- Never leave them in hot cars, even for a minute – a cracked window or parking in the shade does very little to reduce internal car temperature