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Help! My dog is prone to heat stress, Newstead Vet

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It has been rather cool lately in Brisbane but heat stress can occur at any time throughout the year and it can be fatal. I nearly lost Diesel to heat stress many years ago while I was out with him on an evening walk in spring so now I am pretty vigilante ensuring that Diesel does not overheat again. However, this doesn’t mean we have to walk or engage in outdoor activities with your four-legged companion only at night!

Help! My dog is prone to heat stress, Newstead Vet.

Tips on preventing heat stress this summer.

  • Check daily maximum temperatures before heading out with your doggie. Early morning or evening is ideal – lots of sunlight still for you to enjoy. Common sense dictates to avoid the hottest part of the day and your pooch will enjoy the walk even more. Realise also that the pavement or path is a lot hotter (and retains heat) compared with the grass. Here's a tip: touch the pavement with your hand to check how hot it is.
  • Try to head to places that have cool shady areas such as picnic shelters / gazebos in a park or near tall leafy trees. This allows your furry kid to move around and seek shade when needed.
  • Bring water with you. There are many commercially available water containers that you can fold easily and put it in your bag or attach to the lead handle. Seek out parks that have water fountains for dogs.
  • Never leave your pet in a car even if you do not think it is a hot day - and that's even with the windows down parked in the shade. Neither should you leave your pet on a back of a yute/truck without adequate shade and water. Temperature on a summer’s day can easily reach hazardous levels for your dog. Remember that you can be distracted, or something might suddenly keep you occupied - if you're not with your pets, they should always be securely in place at a location where there is water, shade and safety. 
  • If you really have to bring your pooch out on a hot day for a picnic or beach outing, heed the above suggestions PLUS: bring along a spray bottle. Misting your dog, especially in the face and paws, helps to ease the discomfort from the heat. I personally would also bring a towel soaked with water and put it into a chiller bag with some ice in it - but make sure the towels aren't too icy cold. Wipe your dog down several times a day to help cool him down. This bag also doubles up as your EMERGENCY SUMMER PET PACK. - if your dog is in heat stress, immediately cool your dog down with the wet towels and go immediately to an emergency vet hospital. These towels cannot be too cold (slightly cooler than room temperature is fine) as this may send a dog undergoing heat stress into shock.   Similarly, you can also drench him with bottles of cool water you have stashed inside the chiller bag.
  • Bring your dogs indoors on hot days. If you cannot, consider getting a clamshell sandpit and fill it up with water for your dog to play in.

How do I know if my dog has heat stress, Newstead Vet?

  •  Excessive panting
  •  Excessive salivating
  •  Vomiting
  •  Diarrheoa
  •  Collapse
  •  Seizure
  • Dark red gums


Time is of the essence.  While transporting your dog to the hospital, actively cool your dog with cool water or wet towels, and apply a fan if possible.

Take extra precaution with long haired, overweight, young and older animals. Breeds that are “flat-faced” or have short nose, such as Boxers, Bull dogs, Pugs and Pekinese are more susceptible to heat stress.

Otherwise, enjoy the great outdoor and don’t forget sunscreen for your doggie!

If you are looking for a Newstead Vet, call (07) 3216 0045 to make an appointment to see Dr Nic at Fortitude Valley Vet.