Safe Pet Travel: Signs of Heatstroke in Dogs


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yorkshire terrier drinking from a water bottle in the grass

Whether you are relocating with a pet or staying in the UK this summer, as the temperature rises, keeping a close eye on our furry friends is important to ensure they don’t overheat. Heatstroke is a serious condition that can be life-threatening for dogs, so recognising the signs and symptoms is crucial. It’s not always easy to tell when a dog is overheating, but paying attention to their behaviour and monitoring their activity can help prevent this dangerous condition.

In this blog, we’ll go over the signs of heatstroke in dogs so you can keep your furry friend safe and healthy during the hot summer months and ensure you are always following guidance for safe pet travel.

Heavy panting and rapid breathing

If you notice your dog heavily panting and breathing rapidly, it could be a sign of heatstroke. Heatstroke is a serious condition that occurs when a dog’s body temperature rises above normal levels, which can lead to organ damage and even death if left untreated. 

If you notice your dog is heavily panting and rapidly breathing, you must seek immediate help from a veterinarian. In the meantime, provide plenty of shade, cool water, and wet towels to help lower your dog’s body temperature.

Excessive drooling and salivation

When a dog experiences heatstroke, excessive drooling and salivation can be one of the key symptoms. This is because their body is trying to cool down by increasing the amount of saliva that they produce. As the saliva evaporates, it takes heat away from the dog’s body, which helps to reduce its body temperature.

However, if the dog cannot find a way to cool down, their body temperature can continue to rise, leading to further complications. That is why it is important to seek immediate veterinary attention if your dog is excessively drooling and salivating.

Elevated body temperature (above 39.4 Celsius)

If you notice that your dog has an elevated body temperature, it is important to take action immediately. The first step is moving your dog to a cool, shaded area, away from direct sunlight. You can also offer them cool water to drink and place a damp towel over their body to help reduce their temperature.

However, if your dog’s temperature remains high or they are showing other symptoms of heatstroke, such as excessive drooling or panting, it is crucial to seek veterinary attention immediately. Heatstroke can be life-threatening, and prompt treatment is essential to ensure the best possible outcome for your furry friend.

Weakness and lethargy

If you notice that your dog is weak and lethargic, it is important to take immediate action, as this is another telltale sign of heatstroke, however, it could also signal other health issues which your vet will be able to diagnose. If your dog is not eating or drinking, this is another sign that something is wrong. 

It’s important to take your dog to the vet as soon as possible to get a diagnosis and treatment plan. In the meantime, ensure your dog is comfortable and resting, and try to keep them calm and quiet.

Red or pale gums

Red or pale gums in dogs can be a sign of various health issues, including heatstroke. When a dog is experiencing heatstroke, their body temperature rises significantly, causing their gums to become red or pale.

If you notice red or pale gums, place your dog somewhere shady, where they can access lots of fresh, cool water, and place some wet towels on them to bring their body temperature down. Make sure to also give your vet a call for advice!


Now you know the signs and symptoms of heatstroke in dogs, you can embark on safe pet travel with the confidence that you will know what to do if it is needed. Moreover, if you are relocating with a pet to a warm country, you will need to be alert to heatstroke so that you can prevent it.

For any questions about relocating with a pet or safe pet travel, get in touch with the team at TailWings, and we will be happy to help.