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Heat stroke in Dogs

Beware The Heat!

As Brisbane continues to heat up this week please take care with your pets.

Our pets are pretty good at trying to keep themselves cool in the hot weather – the majority of cases of heatstroke are brought on by inappropriate care by their humans.

dog in carNEVER leave your pet in car – even if the windows are down.

NEVER take your dog out walking (or running) in the heat of the day. Short walks in the cool of the morning or early evening during this heat wave are safer.

ALWAYS ensure you pets have access to cool, fresh water and shaded areas to rest.

dog drinking water

BE PARTICULARLY WARY with geriatric pets who may not have the capacity or sense to keep themselves out of the heat, or keep up with their water intake.

BE PARTICULARLY CONSCIOUS if you have a brachycephalic breed (eg british bulldogs, pugs) or a pet with airway disease  – narrow nasal passages mean that it is much more difficult to cool themselves with airflow.


Watch for signs of distress – beginning with excessive panting, excessive salivation, dark red or blue tinged gums, wobbliness when walking but extending to vomiting and seizures.

Cool distressed pets with cool or tepid (not cold) water via a hose, bath or wet towels. Keep air circulating over them with fans or airconditioning.  This is usually sufficient only in mild cases, but can greatly improve the chances of survival in severe cases before you get to the Vet.

Seek veterinary attention as soon as possible.  Heatstroke is life threatening and once it reaches a certain point permanent, or fatal, damage to internal organs occurs.

Veterinary care for heatstroke starts with IV fluids, oxygen, treatment for shock, and drugs to control vomiting and other symptoms. Blood testing for secondary complications such as kidney and liver failure are usually also required. Most cases need hospitalization for up to a week.

Keep Cool, Stay Safe.