Heatstroke in Pets: Still on the Rise?

Smiling labrador dogResponsible pet owners understand the meaning of prevention. To be sure, a preventive approach is the cornerstone of your pet’s health and wellness. Beyond adhering to recommended vaccines and parasite prevention, it’s crucial to keep your pet cool on hot, humid days. Heatstroke in pets is a real threat, but when you know what to look for, you can do your part to prevent it from happening.

The Biggest Mistake

Parked cars are a huge no-no, but why is that exactly? Even the most devoted pet owner may try leaving Fluffy or Fido in the backseat for a quick minute. After all, you parked in the shade and cracked the window…but the trapped air inside the car can heat up faster than you can make a withdrawal at the bank. Temperatures can skyrocket to triple digits inside a vehicle, endangering the life of an innocent pet.

Act Quickly

If your pet is exposed to high temperatures and strong UV rays or overheats during play or exercise, he or she may develop heatstroke. If a rectal temperature exceeds 105 degrees (normal is 101.5 degrees), you may also see these dangerous symptoms:

  • Heavy or excessive panting
  • Rapid pulse
  • Bright red or dark gums and tongue
  • Salivating
  • Vomiting or diarrhea
  • Disorientation
  • Lethargy
  • Seizures
  • Loss of consciousness

In these situations, early detection is key to a positive outcome. Sometimes, treatment can reduce the risk of organ damage, but heatstroke in pets can be fatal. Please do not delay emergency care if you suspect your pet is in danger.

Managing Heatstroke in Pets

If your pet overheats, get him or her out of the direct sun. Choose a shady area or a cool spot  on the floor indoors. Aim a cooling fan or air conditioner toward your pet, and apply a wet, cool towel on the groin area, back of the neck, under the front legs, and the ears.

Even if you’re able to bring down your pet’s temperature, we urge you to bring him or her in to see us. Heatstroke in pets can have disastrous consequences, many of which aren’t observed until well after initial exposure.

Precautionary Steps

While all pets are at risk of developing heatstroke, certain breeds are more likely to suffer dangerous symptoms. Short-nosed dogs, such as Boston terriers, pugs, and boxers, lack the ability to cool themselves via effective panting. Young pets, senior pets, and overweight or obese pets are also at a higher risk.   

Please keep your pets inside during the hottest times of day and exercise in the early morning or evening hours. Doors leading to the attic or garage should always be closed, and a constant supply of fresh, cool water should be offered throughout the day.

Fun Summer Times

The summer months can be great, but the heat index can be absolutely disastrous for pets. For the sake of your pet’s health, comfort, and longevity, we urge you to contact us with any questions or concerns.

posted in:  Pet Safety