Warning signs of heatstroke:
Is the dog panting heavily?
Is the dog drooling excessively?
Does the dog appear lethargic, drowsy or uncoordinated?
Is the dog collapsed or vomiting?
(Dogs can also lose control of their bowels)
Check for a change in colour of their gums:
Red or purple gums are a symptom of heatstroke
Pale or white gums are a sign of shock.
What is ‘heatstroke’?
If dogs are too hot and are unable to reduce their body temperature by panting, they will develop heatstroke which can prove fatal.
Some types and breeds of dog are more prone to heatstroke, like very young dogs or old dogs or those with thick, heavy coats or dogs with very short flat faces like bulldog and pug breeds. Dogs with certain illnesses or diseases or on some types of medication are also more at risk.
Dogs suffering from heatstroke urgently need to have their body temperature lowered gradually.
Move your dog to a cool/shaded area.
Immediately douse the dog with cool (not cold) water, to avoid shock. If possible, you can also use wet towels or place him/her in the breeze of a fan.
Allow the dog to drink small amounts of cool water.
Continue to douse the dog with cool water until his/her breathing starts to settle but never so much that he/she begins to shiver.
If you have access to cold or frozen items, eg frozen peas or ice pack, wrap the item in a towel and place it in the dogs groin but never place ice or frozen items directly on to the skin.
On travelling to the vet if your dog is unconscious and is showing signs and symptoms of shock, sit with your dog laying on its side with his/her hind legs over your knees so his/her head is lower than his bottom so the blood can be directed back to his/her heart and brain and vital organs.
Take your dog to the nearest vet as a matter of urgency, if it is possible for you to ring ahead to prepare the vet for your arrival then that is even better as they will be ready and waiting to administer life saving treatment for your beloved fur baby.
* Walk your dogs during the coolest part of the day, early morning or late evening and keep your animals out of the heat during the hottest parts of the day.
* If you find a dog or animal that is left in vehicle that has no ventilation or access to water call 999 and ask for police attendance. If you feel the dogs' life is in immediate danger, and feel immediate removal of the dog from the vehicle is necessary, take a photo of the car, registration number, and if possible evidence of the outside temperature at the time.
Make sure you tell the police what you intend to do and why. Take pictures or videos of the dog and the names and numbers of witnesses to the incident. The law states that you have a lawful excuse to commit damage if you believe that the owner of the property that you damage would consent to the damage if they knew the circumstances (section 5(2)(a) Criminal Damage Act 1971)
LCGB Welfare team