Heat Emergencies & Dehydration in Pets

June 23rd, 2015

In the beautiful and bright days of summer, it is a fun time to be outside with your pet unless your pet is experiencing a heat emergency or dehydration. Here is what you need to know to prevent an emergency.




Panting (excessive), lethargic, inability to stand, uncoordinated movements, vomiting or diarrhea.




Move your pet to a cool area as soon as possible; seek shade or the indoors.

Keep pet calm and still. Do not try to get your pet to stop panting; this is how your pet expels heat. 

If water is nearby, encourage the pet to stand or lay down in cool water. Put small amounts of water on the tongue, or offer your pet ice cubes to eat. DO NOT immerse your pet in ice water.

If not vomiting, the pet should respond rapidly (10 to 15 minutes). Heat related injuries may take time to show up and are not immediately observable. A veterinarian should examine your pet after a heat related incident even if your pet seems to recover quickly.

If your pet does not respond to the cooling therapy immediately, or if they lose consciousness or have difficulty breathing, or if the skin on the back of their neck does not spring back to the normal position immediately when pulled into a tented position, seek veterinary care immediately. 


As with any emergency, dealing with a pet emergency can be frightening. Knowing the signs of heat emergencies and what you can do to alleviate your pet’s pain is an important safety precaution to take.

Of course, whenever your pet is showing serious signs of a health issue your first step is to contact your primary care veterinarian or an emergency veterinary hospital. If it is indicated that your pet may suffer from a serious condition, a veterinary specialist or emergency clinician is available at an ExpertVet certified hospital.