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How To Beat The Summer Heat: Tips to avoid heat stroke in pets

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While many of us enjoy the heat of summer, our pets can be more sensitive to it than us.  Human bodies have mechanisms for cooling off and avoiding heat exhaustion, like sweating. Our pets are different. Dogs and cats cannot regulate their body temperature by sweating. They only have sweat glands on the pads of their paws. Their paw pads aren’t enough to reliably cool them via sweat on a hot day. Instead, they keep their temperature down by panting and, if possible, by seeking out a cooler place to rest.

Panting may not be enough to avoid heat-related illnesses like heat exhaustion or heat stroke. On hot days, especially if it is also very humid, your pet may be at risk for overheating. Heat-related illness is serious and can be life-threatening. The best way to avoid this condition is to take steps to prevent it. It is important to familiarize yourself with the signs and symptoms of heat exhaustion or heat stroke and look for ways to structure your pet’s environment and routines to avoid heat-related illness.

  • Heat Exhaustion comes from being overheated. If your pet is experiencing heat exhaustion, they will start to pant. Excessive panting is the first symptom that indicates your pet’s body temperature is rising. In addition, they may act lethargic, resist moving or walking, or act weak. This is the time to act quickly!
    • Move your pet to a cooler location—a shady area, in front of a fan, or in air-conditioning.
    • Offer fresh cool water if he will drink it.
    • Otherwise, a wading pool or cool wet towel
    • on their body can help.
    • Be careful and don’t overdo the cooling process and dropping their body temperature too quickly. A gentle, gradual drop is better than a sudden one.
  • Heat Stroke is a medical condition and is extremely dangerous. A truly overheated pet may suffer from heat stroke. Symptoms of heat stroke include:
  • Racing heartbeat
  • Loud, excessive panting
  • Disorientation
  • Unusual amount of drooling
  • Vomiting or diarrhea
  • Seizures or convulsions
  • Bright red or blue gums and tongue

If your pet is showing any of these symptoms, call your veterinarian right away and quickly move them to a cooler place. Heatstroke can be life-threatening since the body’s organs begin to shut down. It is critical to seek medical help immediately to prevent long-term damage or death.

  • Prevention is key. On hot days, remember that your pet overheats faster than you do. They are covered in fur and cannot dissipate heat effectively. Your pet relies on you to notice their cues about being too warm and finding ways to help them cool down.
  • Never leave your pet in the car even for a few minutes. Your car can heat up very quickly and many pets die every year trapped in a hot car.
  • Pavement, especially blacktop, heats faster than grass and can radiate that heat back up to your pet. Be careful on walks and try to provide shade if they are outside on a hot day.
  • Blacktop is especially dangerous for the pads on your pet’s paws. They can get burned from even a short walk on hot pavement.
  • Make sure that your pet has access to fresh, cool water and shade.
  • If your pet is indoors, consider leaving the air conditioning on or providing a fan.

We all love having some summer fun in the sun. We want your pets to enjoy summer with you but in a safe way. Let’s help our pets beat the summer heat by being safe and proactive!

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