We’ve likely all been there during the summer months. Your body temperature is on the rise, you need to sit down or drink water, or possibly seek medical attention. But, imagine the summer heat dressed in a fur coat and without the ability to sweat. With temperatures near or over 100 degrees, it doesn’t take long for our pets to reach heat exhaustion or heat stroke.
Heat stroke in animals is serious and can sometimes lead to fatal complications including seizures, organ failure, and clotting problems. How can you prevent this from happening? How do you know they are experiencing heat exhaustion? Here are some summer facts to keep you informed:
- In the summer months, it is best to leave your pets at home when you can. Even with a window cracked, temperatures soar in cars left unattended.
- Certain breeds are more susceptible to heat stroke. Dogs with short noses such as Pekingese, Pugs, Lhasa Apsos, and Boston Terriers don’t have the ability to pant as efficiently as other breeds. Let’s not forget our overweight furry friends. They also struggle to keep cool. And last, but not least — cats. Cats can often sneak into hot places such as attics. It is best to keep tabs on them a little more in the summer months.
- Heat stroke will initially look like excessive panting, salivating, and discomfort. It can also lead to vomiting and/or diarrhea, disoriented behavior, or even seizures.
- Normal body temperature for a dog or cat is around 101.5 degrees. If your pet’s temperature reaches 104 degrees, they are suffering from a heat stroke emergency.
- Try a summer haircut. If your pet has long hair, try a summer ‘do to help them stay cool.
- Ouch! Don’t let your pet stand on asphalt or concrete for long. They are much closer to the ground than humans and heat reaches them much quicker. Plus, the hot surface can burn their paws.
- If your pet is showing signs of heat stroke, move them to a shaded and cool environment, preferably with a fan. Begin to cool your pet’s body by placing cool, wet towels over the back of the neck, in the armpits, and in the groin region.
If your pet is showing signs of heat exhaustion, we recommend notifying your vet as soon as possible. Taking a few of these precautions and knowing the warning signs could avoid a serious issue and make the summer months more enjoyable for everyone in your family.