A new study has revealed where dogs are most vulnerable of suffering heatstroke in the UK.

Dogs living in London are more likely to suffer from heatstroke than elsewhere in the UK, and owners are being warned to be vigilant about symptoms as summer approaches.

A new study found that dogs in the capital had up to double the chance of getting heat-related illness than in some other regions.

Heatstroke, also called heat-related illness, is potentially fatal and experts suggest it could become more common as global temperatures rise.


As summer approaches, owners are being warned to look out for early signs of heatstroke.

These include excessive panting, red or darkened gums and tongue, confusion and unsteadiness leading to collapse, diarrhoea, vomiting and even seizure leading to coma.

If the dog is not cooled immediately, owners should contact a vet.

The study suggests flats and terraced housing are associated with an increased risk of overheating, and that a greater percentage of cases in London were triggered by confinement in a hot building.

Researchers found that across the UK, older and heavier dogs were most at risk of developing severe heatstroke.

When it came to the risk of dying, older dogs and flat-faced breeds such as pugs and bulldogs were at most risk.

The Nottingham Trent University and the Royal Veterinary College researchers were surprised to find that the average temperature in which dogs became ill from heatstroke was 16.9C.

This is much lower than previously thought, and busts the myth about dogs only becoming high risk for heatstroke in scorching temperatures, the scientists say.

Emily Hall, a veterinary surgeon at the Royal Veterinary College and main author of the paper, said: “As global temperatures continue to rise, better understanding of the combined risk factors for heatstroke will support more targeted owner education to improve canine welfare.

“Whilst the most common trigger overall was exercise, our findings highlight the increased risk of severe and fatal heatstroke associated when dogs cannot escape the heat source or have reduced capacity to thermoregulate, such as older dogs and brachycephalic breeds.

“Both flats and terraced housing are generally located within the warmest parts of cities and are associated with an increased risk of overheating.

“Whilst it does not explain all the additional heatstroke events in London, a significantly greater percentage of cases in London were triggered by confinement in a hot building compared to the rest of the UK.”

The risk for heatstroke for dogs living in London was double that found in Yorkshire, and almost double that in the North West and East of England.

The findings are published in the journal Veterinary Sciences.