We’re in the midst of a heatwave in Australia, but of course it is not an uncommon event.  But still we need to remind ourselves that our pets can also get heatstroke which can go downhill very quickly and even result in death.

With humans, we perspire and this can have a cooling effect on our bodies.  But for dogs, they do not perspire.  They have a weeny bit of sweating going on in their food pads, but the main way they cool themselves down is through panting.  But if this is not enough for them, they can very quickly overheat.

It’s very important to know the indicators of overheating in your dog, and remember that it doesn’t just happen when the weather is hot and humid.  You should be on the lookout all the time, and of course you need to also be aware of what to do if you suspect overheating, and how to prevent it happening in the first place.

Signs to look out for

  • Excessive Panting
  • Noisy Panting
  • Drooling
  • Collapse
  • Lethargy

Preventing Heatstroke

  • Never leave your pet in the car – the internal temperature of a car can become like an oven in minutes (even on a mild day).  This is a no-brainer, but still every year people do this.
  • Avoid exercising your pet in the heat of the day and skip altogether on extremely hot days.
  • (If you are a professional dog walker, please be sure to let your client know that you will not be walking their pet in the middle of the day, or when it is too hot).
  • If your pet has a thick coat, get them clipped by a professional groomer – and ask for a “summer clip”
  • Always have loads of drinking water in multiple bowls for your pet to access.
  • Make sure you pet can be in the shade, and if you are out leave on a fan to give them some airflow (even better leave on the air con for them – especially if they are a Brachycephalic breed, such as a Bulldog or Pug.
  • Spray your pet with a spritz of water to cool them down every hour or so during the heat.
  • Consider making your dog some bone broth icy poles as a treat.

What to do if you Suspect your Pet is Overheating?

Dont delay.  If your pet is struggling with the heat, get them to the vet ASAP – treat it as an emergency. 

In the meantime, you can place wet towels in the hairless parts of the body, such as the groin and footpads.  In the car, let them get some cool airflow from the air con, or fan.

We hope you don’t need this advice, but better to be prepared and aware, if the worst should happen!

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Liz Walden

Liz has a passion for all things cat and dog, and was one of the first in Australia to bring Pet Insurance to the market. She has headed up Petsecure marketing for the past 10 years, and is committed to promoting and supporting the amazing work done by rescue groups around Australia, and those who work to promote a better life for all animals