Heat Stroke & Heat Stress

Unlike us, dogs don’t sweat. They can only really reduce their body temperature by panting, so it's not uncommon during sweltering Australian summers for dogs to suffer from heat stress and heatstroke. Heat stress occurs when a dog’s body temperature rises significantly and it can’t cool itself down fast enough, resulting in excessive and rapid panting, and noticeable agitation. Heatstroke occurs when the heat stress isn’t corrected fast enough and the dog's body temperature continues to rise. The result can range from simple lethargy to seizures, multiple organ failure, and even death.

  1. Provide shade and water
    • When you’re at home, always ensure your dog has easy access to plenty of water and adequate shade, especially if they are outdoor dogs. When temperatures reach 35⁰C +, keep your dog indoors and, if possible, in an air-conditioned room as they can still overheat with water and shade.
  2. Avoid midday exercise
    • Australia’s summer sun can be brutal in the middle of the day, so keep your walks and play sessions to early mornings and late afternoons when it's cooler.
  3. Don’t leave your dog unattended in the car. Even with the windows slightly wound down, temperatures inside can rise very quickly beyond your dog’s ability to cope. Unfortunately, leaving dogs in parked cars is one of the major causes of heatstroke in Australia.
  4. Make your dog ‘summer friendly’
    • Groom your dog to avoid a matted coat or have its fur clipped. Be extra careful with longhaired, overweight, young and older dogs. Learn more about grooming you dog.

If your dog is getting overheated and suffering from early heat stress symptoms, give him plenty of cool water, wet his coat with a cool water shower or wet towel, place him in front of a fan. If you're worried your dog is showing signs of heatstroke, or is convulsing, wet the coat with cool water and go immediately to the nearest veterinary emergency centre.