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Heatstroke in Dogs, 6 Symptoms and Risks

Posted by Reedy Creek Vet on 13 January 2022
Heatstroke in Dogs, 6 Symptoms and Risks

Dogs not having sweat glands is a common myth. They've actually got some in their footpads to help with heat dissipation.

But despite their uncommonly known sweat glands, all dogs can be affected by heatstroke, and Gold Coast residents should know the signs.

Heatstroke can be fatal for dogs, and if you’re concerned that your pet is affected, you need to take them to the vet as soon as possible.

What is heatstroke in dogs?

Dogs' sweat glands in their paws aren't enough to cool down their body temperature. Instead, they do most of their cooling down by panting. 

But if they get overexercised, or it's a hot enough day, their body temperature may rise faster than their panting can keep up with.

That's when our pets can succumb to heatstroke.

Heatstroke symptoms for dogs

A dog suffering from heatstroke may exhibit the following symptoms:

  • Excessive panting

  • Drooling

  • Reddened gums

  • Vomiting

  • Diarrhoea

  • Severe lethargy and unwillingness to move around

In some severe cases, your pet may collapse or even lose consciousness.

If your pet is showing symptoms of heatstroke, you should take them to the vet immediately. 

How dogs get heatstroke

Like humans, dogs can succumb to heatstroke in any environment that's too hot or when they get overexercised. 

Leaving pets in hot cars or failing to provide adequate shade and water can also cause heatstroke and is often fatal.

Certain types of dogs are more prone to heatstroke than others, including those that are:

  • Overweight

  • Thick furred

  • Brachycephalic (flat-nosed, like bulldogs or pugs) 

  • Older

Though some pets are more prone to heatstroke, all dogs can be affected. Even working dog breeds that require a lot of exercise should be monitored closely on hot days.

What to do if you think your pet has heatstroke

If your dog is showing symptoms of heatstroke, you should head to your vet immediately. You should also call your vet on the way and let them know that you're coming. 

You can reach Reedy Creek Vet at (07) 5593 8395.

Lowering the risk of heatstroke for dogs

The Gold Coast Summer is hot. To help minimise the risk of your pet being affected by heatstroke, you should caution against temperature and weather conditions.

The best ways to lower the risk of heatstroke for your dog are to:

  • Avoid walking and exercising during the hotter parts of the day

  • Avoid overexercising, even at home playing fetch

  • Avoid walking on hot surfaces like sand, roads, or on the footpath

  • Never leave your pet unattended in a vehicle, even for a few minutes.

On high-alert days and during heatwaves, you should keep your pet indoors and ensure they have access to a water bowl inside. 

Monitoring your pet with consistent check-ups:

Some pets have a greater risk of heatstroke. As well as age, weight, and breed, other medical conditions like respiratory diseases can affect your pet's ability to cool itself down.

Bringing your pet in for regular check-ups to monitor their health can reduce the risk of heatstroke.

Contact us online today or call Reedy Creek Vet at (07) 5593 8395.  

Or book an appointment online.

Author:Reedy Creek Vet