As the UK is set to be hit with a heatwave over the next few days, many pet owners will be worrying about their furry friends and how to keep them safe during the intense heat.

While it is commonly known that humans can suffer from heatstroke, few know that the warm weather can also cause the same illness in dogs.

As the temperature picks up, Veterinary Physiotherapist, Tilly Wild has partnered with Next to share some of the symptoms to look out for in your dogs and how to keep heat stroke at bay.

How to spot heatstroke in dogs?

Heatstroke is a serious illness that develops when a dog is too hot and struggles to lower their temperature.

While heatstroke can affect any breed or age of dog, it’s vital that we keep our dogs cool in the summer in order to prevent this.

Signs of heatstroke can include excessive panting, drooling, bright red gums, shaking, vomiting and in severe cases, collapsing.

The RSPCA also states that dogs may become lethargic or disorientated.

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Bournemouth Echo: How to prevent heatstroke in dogs on warm daysHow to prevent heatstroke in dogs on warm days

What to do if your dog has heatstroke?

Dogs suffering from heatstroke need urgent care to help bring their temperature back down. The RSPCA advises the following steps for a dog with heatstroke:

  • Move the dog to a shaded and cool area
  • Immediately pour cool (not cold to avoid shock) water over the dog. Tap water (15-16°C) has been found to be the most effective at cooling dogs with heat-related illnesses.  In a true emergency, any water is better than nothing.
  • Wet towels placed over the dog can worsen the condition, trapping heat.  In mild cases towels can be placed under the dog, but never over, and in a true emergency water immersion or pouring water with air movement is ideal.
  • Allow the dog to drink small amounts of cool water
  • Continue to pour cool water over the dog until their breathing starts to settle, but not too much that they start shivering
  • Dogs that have lost consciousness will stop panting, despite still having a very high temperature, these dogs require urgent aggressive cooling as a priority.
  • Throughout the treatment of heatstroke try to avoid pouring water on or near your dog's head, as there is a risk of them inhaling water which could lead to drowning, especially for flat-faced and unconscious dogs.

Once the dog is cooled, immediately bring them to the nearest vet.

How to prevent heatstroke in dogs?

Veterinary Physiotherapist, Tilly, recommends the following simple but effective steps to stop your dog from suffering from heatstroke this summer:

  • Walk during the coolest hours of the day
  • Ensure access to shade and water
  • Avoid travelling in the car on hot days
  • Make sure the pavement isn’t too hot (check with the back of your hand)
  • Don’t use ice water in paddling pools
  • Invest in cool mats for older dogs

Tilly said: “Providing cool mats and paddling pools is a great way to keep your dog cool in the summer whilst still being able to enjoy the sunshine.

£But it’s important to supervise and check the water in paddling pools isn’t ice cold- cool or room temperature is ideal to prevent shock

“Cool mats are also useful for older dogs with arthritis, who may find that their painful joints become warm or inflamed during the hotter months.  A cool mat can help reduce inflammation and keep them comfortable.”