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How to aid a dog with heatstroke

We work hard to make sure we stay on top of the latest information and best practice, and we feel it’s important to share current guidance from the Royal Veterinary College (RVC) about dogs with heatstroke.

New research has found that pets may be suffering even further due to outdated first aid practices.

Best practice veterinary guidelines now recommend you ‘cool first, transport second’ as the immediate first aid response for dogs with heatstroke. Recommended cooling methods include cold water immersion for young, healthy dogs, or pouring water of any temperature that is cooler than the dog over them, combined with air movement from a breeze, fan or air conditioning, for older dogs or dogs with underlying health problems.

Owners should also seek veterinary advice as soon as possible.

Emily Hall, RVC lecturer, says: “The key message for dog owners is to cool the dog quickly, using whatever water you have available provided the water is cooler than the dog. The longer a dog’s body temperature remains elevated, the more damage can occur, so the sooner you can stop the temperature rise and start cooling the better.”


PAT Volunteers are encouraged to cancel or reschedule PAT visits if the temperature soars and there is a concern about the pet’s welfare.

Look at our other tips on keeping your dogs cool during heat waves

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