Heatstroke and Dehydration in Dogs

Heatstroke and dehydration are serious conditions in dogs, and it is important that as dog owners we are aware of the causes, symptoms and treatments for both.

During the summer months, when temperatures sore, the potential for your dog suffering from heatstroke and dehydration increases. These conditions can be fatal or at the least cause serious health issues in your dog.

In our previous guides to protecting your dog in hot weather, we have mentioned various potential causes of heatstroke and dehydration.

These can be caused by leaving a dog in a hot car, walking your dog in hot weather and leaving your dog in a garden without adequate shade and places they can cool down.

Please read the relevant guide, linked below for more information on each of these.


walking a outside dog in hot sunshineThis is caused by lack of fluids in the body. Water is essential for life and when water levels drop too low, dehydration occurs.

  • An overheated dog will drool excessively
  • Bloodshot eyes, or eyes sinking in
  • Look pale
  • Skin loses its elasticity
  • Dog may collapse
  • Dry, sticky gums
  • Lethargy
  • Loss of appetite
  • Dehydration can be caused by other illnesses like excessive vomiting and diarrhoea
  • Dehydration can be pointing to a serious underlying health issue
  • It is important to get your dog to the vet to treat dehydration who will be able to administer intravenous fluids

Ways you can help avoid your dog getting dehydrated include:

  • Provide fresh, clean water. Wash the bowl daily and replace the water regularly
  • Monitor your dogs drinking. If they are not drinking enough water, there could be other problems or reasons why.
  • Take water with you when going on walks with your dog, and stop for breaks to give them a drink
  • Make sure your dog’s water bowl cannot be knocked over and therefore emptied out, especially if you are leaving them a lone for a period of time.
  • If your dog has not been drinking enough, don’t let them drink a lot in one go. This can cause vomiting and a greater loss of fluids. Rather give them a few sips at a time.


Heatstroke occurs when a dog cannot reduce its body temperature and can be fatal to dogs.

It is a serious condition and needs veterinary attention. If you suspect your dog is suffering from heatstroke, get them to a vet as soon as possible.


  • Heavy panting
  • Salivating
  • Dry gums
  • Glassy eyes
  • Fever
  • Rapid pulse
  • Red gums and or tongue
  • Lethargy
  • Lack of coordination
  • Reluctance to rise after collapsing
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhoea
  • Losing consciousness

Treating heatstroke:

  • Act quick
  • Move the dog to a cool, shaded area
  • Call vet
  • Lower their bodily temperature, however not suddenly. Too fast can result in dog going in to shock
  • Pour cool (not cold) water over them, but only a bit at a time. Do not throw large amounts of water over them too fast.
  • Continue to pour water on them, a bit at a time to gradually lower their temp, but not to the point they start shivering
  • Place them in the breeze of a fan
  • Let them drink water but only small amounts at a time. Too much drinking, too fast can cause vomiting. Rather hold the water bowl and let them take a couple of sips, then have a small break, then a few more sips
  • Get them to the vet for further treatment ASAP

Our guides to protecting your dogs in summer weather and hot temperatures:

– Protecting Your Dog in Hot Weather

– Leaving A Dog in a Hot Car

– Leaving your Dog Outside in Hot Weather

– Walking Your Dog in Summer Heat

– How to Cool your Dog Down

– Summer BBQ’s and Days Out with Your Dog

Our dogs are important to us, so taking care of their health is vital.

Knowing how to care for our dogs will ensure they live longer and stay healthier

dog outside in a hot park

The information on this page is only a guide to help make you aware. It is not professional veterinary advice. Please consult your vet for any health concerns about your dog

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