What are the signs of heat exhaustion in dogs?

As we enter the sunnier months, we need to look out for our pets as well as enjoying the heat ourselves. Heat exhaustion can be extremely dangerous for dogs, so it is important to recognize the signs in our pets to prevent and treat it as quickly as possible. Dog owners must think ahead as the heat rises to protect their dogs and be prepared to spot the signs of heat exhaustion.

What are the signs of heat exhaustion in dogs?

Signs of heat exhaustion can include heavy panting, tiredness, and dribbling. Your dog may also become stiff and find it difficult to move, not be able to walk in a straight line or be sick. These symptoms occur when your dog’s body temperature rises above 39°C and becomes particularly severe when it rises above 41°C. The longer their internal body temperature is this high, the danger of serious illness increases as their organs become damaged. Other signs to look out for are:

·       Glazed eyes

·       Fast pulse

·       Excessive salivation

·       Diarrhea

·       Unconsciousness

How do you treat heat exhaustion in dogs?

When you spot one or more of these symptoms in your pet, it is important to act very quickly to protect them. While you arrange to take your dog to the vet you should try to keep them as cool as possible. Ensure they are out of direct sunlight and in the shade, preferably on a cool surface. Plenty of water is vital to help bring down their temperature and restore their hydration. Using a sponge or a towel soaked in cool water to gently cool your dog down is advised. If unsure of how exactly to best treat your pet, always be sure to call a vet for advice.

 If a particularly hot day is coming up and you want to protect your dog from the rays, a couple of things to remember are:

·       Never leave your dog in the car, even with the window down.

·       Take water with you wherever you take your dog, and always make sure there is enough at home.

·       Don’t take your dog for exercise when the sun is at its highest at midday, aim for the morning or evening when the heat is less intense.

Hot dog in car

How long does heat exhaustion last in dogs?

In the preferable scenario that the dog has only suffered a mild form of heat stroke and their owner was able to act quickly to cool them down before getting them to see the vet, it is likely that they will make a full recovery quickly. However, in more severe cases where the dog hasn’t been immediately attended to, more intensive treatment is required which obviously takes a lot longer. Sadly, one in seven dogs who are treated for heatstroke pass away, so it is vital to practice prevention strategies and to act quickly if you notice any signs that your dog is suffering from heat exhaustion. 

If you have worries about how we ensure that the animals are kept cool, whilst in our care, please feel free to contact us to find out more.