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Take steps to help your dogs stay cool in the heatwave

Take steps to help your dogs stay cool in the heatwave

With record-breaking temperatures expected to hit the UK this week, the ISDS is advising members to take extra care of their dogs in the heat to keep them safe and well.

Heatstroke is a very serious condition which can progress quickly, and in some cases, it can be fatal. Dogs cannot tolerate high temperatures as well as humans so it is important to take steps to help keep their temperature regulated.

Dogs have a limited ability to sweat, so on warm days they will pant and seek shade to cool themselves down. Heavy panting, difficulty breathing, excessive drooling and a dog ‘going off its feet’ are some of the early signs of heatstroke.

There are ways you can help to prevent heatstroke in your dogs.

Tips to prevent heatstroke:

Walk or work your dogs only when it’s cool. Always avoid the hottest times of the day to exercise or work your dogs.

Encourage them to get in water. If your dogs like to get in water, allow them to do so on warm days.

Be careful of hot surfaces. If you can’t place your hand on a surface for five seconds, then it’s too hot for your dog to walk on.

Avoid travelling when it’s hot. If you do have to travel, make sure your dogs are in the shade, have access to water, and have plenty of air flowing around them.

Consider buying cooling mats, or use wet towels for your dog to lie on.

Make sure they always have access to shade and water.

Signs of heatstroke include:

Excessive panting

Bright red or pale gums






Weakness and collapse


First aid for heatstroke:

If you spot any signs of heatstroke in your dogs, act fast to cool them down and contact your vet.

Move them into a cool spot in the shade and offer them a drink of water, but don’t force them to drink if they don’t want to.

Create a breeze, or use a fan.

Put them on top of a wet towel, don’t cover them with it as this will make them hotter.

Gently pour cool water over their whole body.

Avoid pouring water on your dog’s head, especially for unconscious dogs, as there is a risk of them inhaling water which could lead to drowning.

If your dog is showing signs of heatstroke, quickly administer first aid and seek urgent veterinary treatment.

Dogs who are suffering from heatstroke urgently need to have their body temperature lowered gradually for the best chance of survival and to avoid permanent organ damage.

The Society would also advise anyone holding sheepdog trials in above normal temperatures to consider the welfare of the dogs and sheep, and ask if it safe to go ahead and if so to ensure there is shade available and plentiful water for drinking and cooling off.