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Dogs Don’t Die Just in Hot Cars—Exertional Heat-Related Illness (Heatstroke) Is a Greater Threat to UK Dogs

Hall, Emily J.; Carter, Anne J.; O’Neill, Dan G.


Emily J. Hall

Anne J. Carter

Dan G. O’Neill


Heat-related illness will affect increasing numbers of dogs as global temperatures rise unless e↵ective mitigation strategies are implemented. This study aimed to identify the key triggers of heat-related illness in dogs and investigate canine risk factors for the most common triggers in UK dogs. Using the VetCompassTM programme, de-identified electronic patient records of 905,543 dogs under primary veterinary care in 2016 were reviewed to identify 1259 heat-related illness events from 1222 dogs. Exertional heat-related illness was the predominant trigger (74.2% of events), followed by environmental (12.9%) and vehicular confinement (5.2%). Canine and human risk factors appear similar; young male dogs had greater odds of exertional heat-related illness, older dogs and dogs with respiratory compromise had the greatest odds of environmental heat-related illness. Brachycephalic dogs had greater odds of all three types of heat-related illness compared with mesocephalic dogs. The odds of death following vehicular heat-related illness (OR 1.47, p = 0.492) was similar to that of exertional heat-related illness. In the UK, exertional heat-related illness affects more dogs, and kills more dogs, than confinement in a hot vehicle. Campaigns to raise public awareness about heat-related illness in dogs need to highlight that dogs don’t die just in hot cars.


Hall, E. J., Carter, A. J., & O’Neill, D. G. (2020). Dogs Don’t Die Just in Hot Cars—Exertional Heat-Related Illness (Heatstroke) Is a Greater Threat to UK Dogs. Animals, 10(8), 1324.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Jul 28, 2020
Publication Date Jul 31, 2020
Deposit Date Aug 10, 2020
Publicly Available Date Aug 10, 2020
Journal Animals
Publisher MDPI
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 10
Issue 8
Pages 1324
Public URL
Publisher URL
Related Public URLs
Additional Information Additional Information : Dataset available at:


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