First aid for heatstroke
What to do if you think your pet has heat stroke:
Step one: Check them
- Check your pet for the common signs of heatstroke such as excessive panting, trouble breathing and collapse.
- Avoid stressing your pet by staying calm and using a quiet voice to sooth them.
- If you suspect your pet has heatstroke, phone your vets and start cooling them immediately (step two).
Step two: Cool them
- Never use ice or very cold water to cool your dog – this could cause shock.
- Move your pet into a cool space that is out of direct sunlight. If they are large, you may need to use a towel or blanket to move them.
- Use a fan or air-conditioning to cool the air around them.
- Give them cool (not freezing cold) water to drink.
- Put them on top of a wet towel to start cooling them.
- Slowly wet their feet, ears and fur.
- Once your pet starts to cool down you can pour cool water over their body.
Step three: Call your vet
- Call your vet for advice as soon as you have moved your pet into a cool area and started cooling them down.
- If your pet is struggling to breathe, call your vet for advice immediately.
- Transport your pet (ideally in an air-conditioned vehicle) and continue cooling them on the journey.
Coronavirus: Always call before arriving at your veterinary practice, during the current COVID-19 crisis, your vet will be operating a limited service and may not have staff at all sites.
Published: March 2020
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Written by vets and vet nurses. This advice is for UK pets only.
Illustrations by Samantha Elmhurst