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These dogs are most at risk of heatstroke – how to spot the signs and how to treat it

These dogs are most at risk of heatstroke – how to spot the signs and how to treat it (Canva)
These dogs are most at risk of heatstroke – how to spot the signs and how to treat it (Canva)

Over the coming days, the UK is set to be hit with a heatwave, with the Met Office issuing an amber warning for heat in parts of the country.

As we prepare for the hot days, many pet owners will be worried about their furry friends and how to keep them safe during the intense heat.

While it is commonly known that humans can suffer from heatstroke, few know that the warm weather can also cause the same illness in dogs.

Heatstroke is an illness that can occur in all dogs, but some breeds are slightly more susceptible to the heat.

The RSPCA website says: “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.”

Dog breeds most likely to suffer from heatstroke

According to the PDSA, these are some of the dog breeds who are most likely to suffer from heatstroke:

  • Pug

  • English Bulldog

  • French Bulldog

  • Dogue de Bordeaux

  • Pomeranian

  • Shih Tzu

  • Boston Terrier

Oxford Mail: Pugs are likely to suffer from heatstroke (Canva)
Oxford Mail: Pugs are likely to suffer from heatstroke (Canva)

Pugs are likely to suffer from heatstroke (Canva)

This is due to their flat faces, with noses playing a big part in a dogs ability to cool themselves down.

How to spot heatstroke in dogs?

Heatstroke is a serious illness that develops when a dog is too hot and struggles to lower their temperature.

While heatstroke can affect any breed or age of dog, it’s vital that we keep our dogs cool in the summer in order to prevent this.

Signs of heatstroke can include excessive panting, drooling, bright red gums, shaking, vomiting and in severe cases, collapsing.

The RSPCA also states that dogs may become lethargic or disorientated.

What to do if your dog has heatstroke?

Dogs suffering from heatstroke need urgent care to help bring their temperature back down. The RSPCA advises the following steps for a dog with heatstroke:

  • Move the dog to a shaded and cool area

  • Immediately pour cool (not cold to avoid shock) water over the dog. Tap water (15-16°C) has been found to be the most effective at cooling dogs with heat-related illnesses.  In a true emergency, any water is better than nothing.

  • Wet towels placed over the dog can worsen the condition, trapping heat.  In mild cases towels can be placed under the dog, but never over, and in a true emergency water immersion or pouring water with air movement is ideal.

  • 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

Oxford Mail: How to treat heatstroke in dogs (Canva)
Oxford Mail: How to treat heatstroke in dogs (Canva)

How to treat heatstroke in dogs (Canva)

Dogs that have lost consciousness will stop panting, despite still having a very high temperature, these dogs require urgent aggressive cooling as a priority.

Throughout the treatment of heatstroke try to avoid pouring water on or near your dog's head, as there is a risk of them inhaling water which could lead to drowning, especially for flat-faced and unconscious dogs.

Once the dog is cooled, immediately bring them to the nearest vet.