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It is Getting Hot in Perth County! Here are Some Tips on Preventing Heat Stroke in Your Dog and Cat

By July 11, 2014 May 21st, 2015 Small Animal

It’s getting hot in Perth County!  Don’t forget that our furry friends can’t handle the heat very well.

Heat stroke happens to a pet when its body cannot get rid of heat fast enough.  Normally, a pet will seek shade and lay down.  Dogs will pant and drool to cool the body by evaporation and their blood vessels will dilate in order to radiate heat away.  However, with too much heat stress, both dogs’ and cats’ core temperatures will rise above normal and pets will develop a change in attitude and alertness, bright red or blue gums and may become weak or collapse.

Risk Factors

  • Non-ventilated areas (confinement in a car or hot cage)
  • Water and shade deprivation
  • Exercise in hot, humid weather
  • Obesity and old age
  • Obstructed upper airway (think bulldog or other short-nosed breeds)rsz_linda_dench_dog_pic_2
  • Exposure to forced heat (from blow dryer or clothes dryer)
  • Underlying diseases, such as congestive heart failure

Rules to Prevent Heatstroke

  1. Never ever leave an animal alone in a car, regardless of the temperature outside
  2. Pets should always have access to clean, fresh water
  3. Do not push a pet to exercise if they are slowing down and want to take a break
  4. Keep pets indoors during very hot weather

Please make sure that when you open windows to allow a breeze indoors, that the screens are secure, so that your dog or cat will not fall out if they jump on to the window sill.

Pets can also get thermal burns on their paw pads if they walk on hot pavement, decks or sandy beaches.  Hoses that are left out in the sun should be allowed to flow before pets drink from them.

If you think your pet has heat stroke, please call your veterinarian right away!  Move it to a shaded and cool environment with a fan.  Soak a towel in tap water and drape it over its body.  You may offer water, but do not force it to drink.  Do not use ice or cold water for cooling, as it constricts blood vessels, preventing heat from escaping.

Severe heat stroke can cause damage to all organs. Treatment for heat stroke may include IV fluid therapy and hospitalization.  Here at Coventry Animal Hospital, we are glad that summer is finally here, but we need to ensure that our pets are safe in the heat.