Protecting Your Pet from Heat Stroke
Like humans, dogs and cats can become overheated. Unlike humans, our pets aren’t
able to effectively reduce their body temperature by sweating. But, just because your
furry pal can’t tell you when he’s too hot, doesn’t mean you can’t protect him from the
potentially deadly effects of heat stroke, also known as hyperthermia or heat
Here’s what you need to know to keep your pet safe as the weather heats
Signs of heat stroke in pets:
Dogs and cats who are beginning to overheat will typically attempt to find water, shade,
or a cooler place to go. They might also begin panting and drooling and their footpads
If the attempts to cool off are unsuccessful and the animal’s body temperature rises
further, you might notice:
- Rapid breathing
- Redness of the tongue and mouth
Preventing heat stroke in pets:
During the summer months, try to walk your dog during the morning or evening hours.
Limit your pet’s time outside and be sure he has access to shade and fresh water at all
Never leave a pet in a car with the windows closed. Even when the outdoor
temperature is in the high 70s, the temperature inside a car can quickly rise to
Take extra precautions when humidity levels are high, which can increase the heat
Also take extra precautions for brachycephalic dog breeds (short-nosed breeds), like
bulldogs, pugs, boxers, and others. These breeds are more susceptible to heatstroke
than longer-nosed breeds.
Treating heat stroke in pets:
If you find your pet unconscious or in serious distress, attempt to cool him off
immediately. Dogs and cats should be soaked in cool water, focusing on the back of the
head and neck and being sure that no water gets into the nose or mouth.
You can place an icepack or bag of frozen vegetables on the back of the head, too, and
let the overheated animal drink as much water as he wants.
Even if a pet has seemed to recover, heat stroke can lead to kidney failure, swelling of
the brain, abnormal clotting of blood, and other dangerous conditions, so contact us
immediately if you suspect your pet is overheated.