How to Prevent Heatstroke in Pets

The summer months can be dangerous to pets, as they can experience heatstroke on extremely hot days. Coping with rising temperatures and thick humidity is difficult enough. Things can get tougher, even tragic, when you have to deal with power outages as well.


What Is Heat Stroke in Pets?


Heatstroke is high body temperature or hyperthermia that develops when heat overcomes the cooling mechanisms in a pet’s body. The main cooling mechanism in most pets is panting. Heatstroke is a life-threatening condition that can lead to an inflammatory response, which can cause multiple organ failures.


Signs of Heat Stroke in Pets


This condition can vary in severity from mild to deadly. High body temperatures can damage cells and lead to a whole-body or systemic body inflammatory response. This can cause damage to various vital organs, such as the brain, kidneys, and liver. Some of the common signs and symptoms of heatstroke in pets include:


  • Muscle tremors


  • Rapid panting or breathing


  • Restlessness and disorientation


  • Diarrhea


  • Seizures


  • Vomiting


  • Red lesions on the skin


  • Increased heart rate


  • Blood in feces and/or vomit


How Long Does the Condition Last?


Heatstroke can happen pretty quickly. However, it usually progresses from mild to moderate heat stroke before progressing to severe heatstroke, which can cause death.


Preventing Heat Stroke in Pets


To protect your animal friend, you first need to understand that heat stroke is an emergency. Also, you need to follow some basic summer safety tips. Obese pets and those with thick coats of hair are at an increased risk of suffering heatstroke. Some of the best ways to protect your pet from high temperatures include:


Don’t Leave Pets in a Car Outside


Even with the air conditioning on, do not leave your pet in a parked car. The temperatures inside a car can rise to unsafe levels within a few minutes, even on cool days. Such temperatures can lead to organ damage that cannot be reversed or even lead to death.


Adjust the Duration and Intensity of Exercise on Hot Days


You need to adjust your pet’s exercise routine per the temperature. On very hot days, limit exercise to evening hours or early morning. Additionally, be especially careful with short-nosed pets and those with white-colored ears.


Pets with a short nose often find it difficult to breathe on hot days, while those with white ears are more at risk of developing skin cancer. If you choose to walk your dog on a hot day, walk them on the grass because asphalt can get extremely hot. Always remember to carry water to keep your canine friend from dehydrating.


Be Mindful of the Humidity


In addition to high temperatures, high humidity can also affect your pet. To lower their body temperature, most animals pant to evaporate some of the moisture in their lungs. On days with high humidity, they find it more difficult to cool themselves. This causes their body temperatures to rise quickly to dangerous levels.


Other ways to prevent heatstroke in pets include:


  • Provide your pet with ample water and shade any time he/she is outside


  • Remember that fans do not work as effectively on pets as on humans. So, you do not want to rely on a fan to cool your pet


  • Always watch for signs and symptoms of heatstroke


To learn how to prevent heatstroke in your pet, visit Dr. Mike's Affordable Vet Care at our office in Arlington, Texas. You can call (817) 663-8160 today to schedule an appointment.

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