Heat Stress & Heatstroke

Heatstroke occurs when the body temperature increases to a point where they cannot cool down.


Rising temperatures and longer days during summer mean that were are out and about more with our pets. When a pet’s body temperature rises through activity, they release excess body heat through panting and their paws. Unfortunately, in high environmental temperatures, the pet cannot easily lower their body temperature and heatstroke can develop. Heatstroke can be easily prevented if early signs of heat stress such as excessive panting and agitation are observed and managed early. A dogs normal temperature is around 38°C, a cat's normal temperature is around 38.5°C, when it rises to 40.0°C there is a problem.

All pets can be affected by excessive heat. However, certain risk factors can increase the likelihood of developing heatstroke.

Risk factors:


Common signs of heatstroke:


Causes of heatstroke:


Tips to help a pet with heat stress:

It is important not to cool the pet too quickly or below normal body temperature - avoid ice and very cold water. Once the temperature returns to 39°C dry the pet, remove all ice packs and cold towels and monitor

Heatstroke can lead to organ failure. If your pet’s temperature rises above 40.0°C, has reddened gums, rapid heart rate, breathing distress, vomiting, mental depression, seizures or is wobbly, seek veterinary attention immediately.


Early recognition of symptoms is the key to preventing heat stress and heatstroke. Unfortunately, pets that have suffered an episode previously are more likely to experience it again.

Tips to help prevent heat stress: