With extended daylight and warm weather, the summer can be a great time to get active with your pet. However, it’s important to be aware of the dangers of heatstroke – a life-threatening condition, caused by the elevation of a dog’s body temperature. While people can also suffer heatstroke, the risk is much greater for dogs as they only perspire around their paws and nose (which is not sufficient alone to cool their body). The most effective means for a dog to expel excess heat is panting, which moves cool air through the nasal passages and around the body. If a dog doesn’t have access to cool air – either because of high outside temperatures or a confined environment – they are at risk of overheating.

 What causes heatstroke


The biggest risk for heatstroke is the dog’s immediate environment. If your dog is in very humid conditions or a confined space without fresh air (such as a car), he or she will quickly overheat. Brachycephalic breeds of dogs (those with short muzzles e.g. British Bulldogs and Pugs) are also more prone to heat stroke because their nasal passages are smaller, and it is more difficult for them to circulate sufficient air for cooling.  Avoid leaving your dog in the car!

Early signs of heatstroke include:

  • High body temperature (more than 40 degrees)
  • Distress
  • Excessive panting
  • Excess saliva
  • Bluish-purple or bright red gums, due to inadequate oxygen supply to the tissues.

How to avoid heat stroke

Fortunately, heatstroke is a preventable condition. By following the tips below, you’ll be well on the way to ensuring your dog stays safe this summer:

  • Never leave your pet unattended in a car.
  • Keep your dog well hydrated.
  • Carry water.
  • Provide shade.
  • Avoid walking on hot days.

If you are concerned about your pet please call us on 03 389 4564