Silly Dog Tilts Head in Front of BarnHigh temperatures and humidity can take its toll this time of year. This is particularly true for our fur-bearing friends, who aren’t able to sweat enough to efficiently regulate body temperature.

Unfortunately, many pets succumb to heatstroke and heat related illnesses each year. Even well-cared for cats and dogs are at risk when their owners are unprepared for a pet emergency. That’s why safety awareness and learning about heatstroke in pets is so important.

Know the Signs of Heatstroke in Pets

Even if you’re extra careful when it comes to outdoor time with your fur friend, knowing the signs of heat stress and heat stroke is paramount. Responding quickly and knowing how to administer first aid is also important.

The most common signs of heat stroke include:

  • Excessive panting
  • Dark red or purple tongue
  • Vomiting
  • Imbalance
  • Dry mouth
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Glazed eyes
  • Increased drooling
  • Collapse
  • Seizure

Heat stroke is a medical emergency and must be treated quickly. If you notice your pet in distress, seek veterinary care right away.

Additionally, puppies and kittens, seniors, pets in poor health, brachycephalic pets (short-nosed/flat-faced breeds), and obese or overweight pets are more susceptible to heatstroke.

What to Do if Your Pet Suffers from Heat Stress

Heatstroke in pets requires a rapid response. Please be familiar with the following steps:  

  1. Move your pet to a cool, shaded location (preferably somewhere with fans/air conditioning and access to cool water).
  2. As you provide first aid, call (or ask someone to call) The Pet Experts at Springbrook Animal Care Center for instructions and to locate the nearest emergency veterinary clinic.
  3. Wet your pet with cool water or wrap him or her in wet towels (don’t use ice water or very cold water, as this can exacerbate problems).
  4. Offer ice cubes or small amounts of water to drink en route to our hospital.

Even when precautions are taken, the circumstances for heatstroke in pets can come out of nowhere. Power outages frequently occur during summer storms, and cars do sometimes break down.

To be prepared in any situation, always have extra water on hand and in your car should you need to keep your fur friend cool.

Be aware of the heat and humidity, and stay safe out there!