As the temperature goes up, so does the risk of heatstroke to us… AND OUR PETS! If I wore a fur coat in the summer, I would get too hot too! Here is a quick guide to protecting your pets from heat exhaustion this summer.
what is heat stroke?
Heat stroke (aka overheating or heat exhaustion) is when your pet’s body temperature rises above the normal range without a true fever. It commonly occurs in pets because they do not have sweat glands over most of their skin like people, plus they are wearing fur coats. So it is much more difficult for them to stay cool, especially on hot days, but can also occur if:
- high humidity, regardless of temperature
- no breaks or rests during exercise
- inadequate access to water (especially water that is not hot)
- lack of ventilation or air conditioning
- being left inside a car above roughly 60 degrees F
It is officially warm outside and your puppy loves to run, no problem! Let’s just make sure you know what to look for if you are in doubt regarding heatstroke. Usually, we see panting & weakness first. Vomiting & diarrhea may occur, especially if they come in and guzzle a ton of water. Muscle tremors, heart pounding, and dizziness are the more severe symptoms.
Now, we all know dogs pant after exercise but we mean excessive panting: panting so hard that their whole body moves. Dizziness and confusion are also a key sign. Sometimes animals will walk like they are drunk or not know their name.
see these symptoms? here is what to do
The goal for immediately caring for your puppers is to cool them off until they are stable and then get them to the vet ASAP.
- Bring your pet into a cool, air-conditioned place
- Small drinks of cool (NOT COLD) water: not if they are vomiting!!
- Pour cool (NOT COLD) water over their head, stomach, armpits, and feet
Heatstroke can be life-threatening! If it progresses to vomiting, passing out, or seizures it is severe enough to be life-threatening.
HOW TO PREVENT HEAT STROKE
- Provide lots of cool (NOT COLD) water
- We recommend the Coolin’ Bowl! It is a bowl that is double-lined. You fill it with water, freeze it, and you are good to go!
- Provide lots of shade (not just a dog house)
- Give them somewhere to play in the water
- little plastic kiddie pools from your local store are great for this
- Give them a cold snack
- Filling your dog’s favorite toy with a frozen treat (frozen peanut butter, or ice) and giving it to them during the day is a great idea they will love!
- Kong toys are our favorite
- Bring them inside or into an air-conditioned building