Heat Stroke and Summer Pet Safety

A dog out in the grassAlthough summer is coming to a close, we’re not out of the woods just yet when it comes to warm temperatures affecting our pets. Even the seemingly-cooler days of early fall can put your pet at risk for overexertion, dehydration, and heat stroke, if you’re not careful.

Keep your pet safe by keeping these tips in mind through the end of the season:

  • Limit the amount of time you spend outside, especially during the hottest parts of the day
  • Let your pet take breaks away from the heat by providing access to your air-conditioned house, a well-ventilated outdoor shelter, or clean water to play in (a kiddie pool, sprinkler, etc.)
  • Provide easy access to plenty of fresh drinking water, day and night, indoors and out. A good rule of thumb is one bowl of water, plus one more, per-pet.
  • Don’t forget to bring water (and a bowl) along when you go on walks or trips away from home
  • Make sure your pet has access to a cool shady spot in the yard so that he or she can get out of the hot sun when needed
  • Take your daily walks during the early morning hours or later in the evening
  • Stay off of hot asphalt during your walks to prevent your pet’s paws from getting burned.
  • Likewise, be mindful of hot truck beds and other surfaces that absorb heat, such as packed gravel and dirt.

Let Your Dog Stay Home!

As the temperature outside rises, so does the temperature inside your vehicle. If the heat outside registers 100°, the inside of your car can reach a sweltering 130° (or more) within a matter of minutes. Even a 70° day can heat the interior of your vehicle to 90°+ before you know it.

Since your pet doesn’t sweat, the body heat he or she needs to release comes out either through the pads of the feet or through panting. A hot car does not allow your pet’s body heat to escape, and can result in life-threatening heat stroke in the time it takes you to grab a gallon of milk or a double half-caff latte.

Please, keep your pets at home…

Preventing Heat Stroke in Pets

Heat stroke is a very real threat to your pet, especially during the summer months. While all pets are susceptible to heat stroke, senior, very young animal, and injured pets are more prone to heat stroke than their adult counterparts, as are pets who have experienced heat stroke in the past.

Symptoms of heat stroke can include:

  • Excessive panting and drooling
  • Discolored gums (bright red or blue)
  • Vomiting
  • Lethargy
  • Disorientation
  • Collapse
  • Seizures

If you suspect that your pet is experiencing heat stroke, take immediate action to help cool his or her body temperature. Offer your pet drinking water (even small laps from your hand), wet your pet down with cool (never cold) water, and bring your pet into a cool environment immediately. You’ll also want to call us immediately for further instructions.

Heat stroke (and its signs) should be treated as a pet emergency, and handled accordingly.

If you have any questions about heat-related illnesses and your pet, please don’t hesitate to call us.