Heat Stroke and Summer Pet Safety
Although 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)
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.
“Dr. Yetter’s professional & compassionate care enabled us to have Lady as a member of our family for over 17 years. Through his knowledge, extensive research, and willingness to reach out, he provided Lady with a long quality life in spite of numerous health issues. We are eternally grateful.”
— Diane & Terry Svob
“Dr. Yetter and the staff at Prairie Ridge have given excellent care to my family of pets for about 20 years. I always feel comfortable asking questions and knowing I will get complete, caring answers. Dr. Yetter researches to find the best treatment options. My cats and dog are family to me, and we trust Prairie Ridge Veterinary Clinic.”
“We are so grateful for the hard work and extra research Dr. Yetter did for our Tansy-cat to find out why she wasn’t eating. If there is a time when your most precious friend is ill and you need to trust someone to care for them, Dr. Yetter is definitely that person! He went above and beyond to do everything he could to save our beautiful Tansy.”
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“I began to bring in my labs into PRVC when I started working there, and was happy to have such a caring and knowledgeable doctor to take care of two of my best friends. It always amazes me just how much care goes into each and every animal, let alone the perseverance of Dr. Yetter and staff (I should call them family) in working out how to treat each and every problem.”
— Chris Johnson