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Published date: 14 July 2023

Heatstroke in dogs is a serious condition that causes things like organ failure and commonly caused by high temperatures, prolonged sun exposure, and exercise in hot weather. It is essential to be aware of the early signs of heatstroke in dogs, what you can do to prevent it from becoming severe and prevent from happening at all!

Preventing heat-related incidents is simpler than you might think. This is because 76% of cases each year are caused by actions of the dog owner, usually just from walking the dog. In contrast, only 13% of cases are caused solely by hot weather, typically affecting flat-faced dogs, muscular breeds like bullies, and older dogs that struggle with heat.

To prevent fatal accidents, we need to ensure we're meeting our dogs' needs at home. This will prevent them from becoming overly excited as soon as they're outside, a rule that applies all year round to be honest, many dogs need a hand already and the heat is just another obstacle. Walking your dogs early in the morning or late in the day is a well-known tip, but there's another factor that catches people out: pavements.

Surprisingly, 68% of heat-related incidents are caused by people just walking their dog. Why? Pavements! This isn't solely about the ambient heat because even a warm pavement can cause significant issues. While it might be ok for them to stand on, the warmth radiating from the pavement can still be harmful. Heat rises! The pavement retains warmth for hours, and the air close to the ground can be almost twice as hot as the air higher up due to it dispersing. So, it might be a comfortable 15 degrees at your level, but almost 30 degrees by your feet.

Let's take the necessary precautions and keep our furry friends off the hot pavements, especially the hyperactive, old and genetically challenged breeds.The first thing to look for when checking for heatstroke in dogs is hydration. You can check your dog's hydration by looking at the skin between their toes, the skin on the back of their neck, and their gums. If the skin is slow to return to its normal state after being pulled, it could indicate dehydration, and it should ping back quickly. Dry and sticky gums can be a sign of dehydration or heatstroke.Another thing to look for is the colour of your dog's gums. They should be shiny and slimy, but if they are red, it could be a sign of poisoning, high blood pressure, or heatstroke.

Other signs of heatstroke in dogs include restlessness, excessive drooling, excessive panting, vomiting, and loss of consciousness. If your dog is experiencing any of these symptoms, it is vital to take them to the vet immediately.

If the heatstroke is not severe, you can help cool your dog down by wrapping them in wet towels but removing these after a few minutes. You can leave cool mats and wet towels for them to lie on and offer cool water to drink. You can also add sensory additions to the water, such as sodium-free bone broth or a pump of salmon oil, to encourage your dog to drink.


Written by Max at MK9Plus

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