Did you know that your pet cannot sweat like humans do? As a result, your pet can experience heat stroke much more easily. With summer approaching, it is important to understand precautions you can take to help avoid heat stroke and also to understand the symptoms of heat stroke if you think your pet might have become overheated.
How to help prevent heat stroke in your pet:
- On hot days, make sure to restrict the amount of exercise that your pet receives. If your pet does need to be walked, try to do this in the early mornings or in the evenings when the temperatures are cooler. It is advisable to bring a portable water bowl with you.
- Do not muzzle your dog as this restricts them from being able to pant, which is one of their main ways of cooling their body temperature.
- If you do plan to take your pet to the beach, make sure they have access to lots of water and even allow them to go into the water to help cool them down.
- Provide access to water at all times and make sure your pet is taking frequent water breaks.
- Move your pet to cool areas of your home, if possible. Or provide a shady spot for outdoor pets to get out of the sun. Place frozen water bottles in socks to allow something cool for your pet to lie on.
- Never leave your pet in a parked car as temperatures can rise to dangerous levels very quickly.
- If your pet has predisposed health conditions such as old age, breathing problems, heart disease or obesity, limit the amount of outdoor activity they receive during hot days.
Signs your pet may be experiencing heat stroke:
- Rapid panting for extended time
- Bright red tongue
- Red or pale gums
- Thick, sticky saliva
- Vomiting – sometimes with blood
If you suspect your pet is experiencing heat stroke, get your pet to a cool environment immediately. Do not force your pet to drink as this can make the problem worse. Instead, apply cool to lukewarm water to entire body to begin the process of lowering their body temperature before going to your veterinarian. Use of a fan can also be helpful. Your pet’s temperature should be taken every 5-minutes until their body temperature reaches 103ºF. It is important to always take your pet to the veterinarian if this type of episode occurs even if you think they have recovered. Other complications could have occurred, such as shock, respiratory distress, and kidney failure. Your veterinarian will ensure that your pet has reached a safe temperature and will continue to monitor their temperature for any changes. Your pet will also most likely receive fluids and oxygen to help in their recovery.
Please take precautions this summer to keep your pet cool, so you and your pet can have an enjoyable summer. If you think your pet is experiencing heat stroke, Dr. Alex of Pet Xpert Animal Clinic is ready to help. Please call right away so a treatment plan can be put in place at 407-886-PETS(7387).