First Aid For Heatstroke

We all know we shouldn’t leave a dog or any other pet in a hot car as they can heat up like ovens and literally cook the pet alive. But even the most responsible owner may not realise how hot their pet is in a garden, a conservatory or a sunny kitchen when the weather gets warmer, or you may discover another animal who’s been exposed, so it pays to know what to do in an emergency.

Signs of heatstroke in dogs and cats include heavy panting, profuse salivation, a rapid pulse, very red tongue and gums, lethargy, lack of co-ordination, inability to stand up, vomiting, diarrhoea and even loss of consciousness.

If your dog or cat shows any symptoms of heatstroke, move him/her to a shaded, cool area and ring your vet for advice immediately. Heatstroke can be fatal and should always be treated as an emergency.

  • You need to urgently lower the body temperature, but don’t use very cold water, to avoid shock: put the animal in a cool shower or spray them with cool water in the breeze of a fan. Cats may be happier to be wrapped in a cold, damp towel.
  • Let them drink small amounts of cool water.
  • Continue dousing the animal with cool water/towels until his/her breathing starts to settle but don’t let them start to shiver with cold.
  • Once cool, take the animal to your vet’s, ensuring your car is as cool as possible for the journey.

If you see a dog or cat in a car on a warm day the RSPCA asks you to please call the Police on 999. It could be a matter of life and death so urgent action needs to be taken.



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