It’s getting hot out there- so keep your pets inside!
Summer is almost here! Although sunny Florida is hot year-round, summer is when we can see the highest temperatures. We need to be careful during these warmer months that our pets do not overheat. The ways our pets cool down is unique- they do not sweat like humans do and have thick coats. A common way dogs try to cool down is by panting. Here we will outline ways we can prevent heat stroke, signs to look for and what to do if you think your pet is experiencing a heat stroke.
What is heat stroke?
A heat stroke is when a pet’s body temperature is above 105.5 F. Dogs and cats have a higher normal temperature than we do- normally between 100-102 F. There are two main types of heat stroke. One type can occur when a pet is in a hot environment. A second type is if the pet is engaging in exercise/activity. Both situations can cause a rise in body temperature.
What can I do to prevent heat stroke?
- Do not keep pets in enclosed areas (e.g. garage or shed) on hot days.
- Be careful if using a dryer after bathing- do not leave unattended with dryer.
- When outdoors make sure your pet has access to shade from the sun.
- Provide ample access to a fresh water source.
- If your pet seems winded or is panting heavily- take a break from play to rest and/or go to an airconditioned area.
What are signs of heat stroke?
- Excessive panting
- Gums/tongue may appear red instead of pink
- Altered behavior e.g. restlessness or agitation
What should I do if I think my pet has a heat stroke?
If your pet is exhibiting severe signs we recommend you take your pet to the nearest veterinarian for evaluation. While in transit to the animal hospital you can mist your pet with cool/room temperature water, have the AC on in the car +/- have windows down while driving.
How can a heat stroke affect my pet?
The dangerously high body temperature can affect almost every body system. It can cause damage to the gastrointestinal tract, cardiovascular system, brain, kidneys, liver, etc. This can be a life-threatening situation and some pets may require hospitalization.
What kind of pets should take extra precaution?
- Brachycephalic or flat-faced breeds like Pugs or Persians.
- Young kitten/puppies or geriatric pets.
- Overweight pets.
Hoping everyone has a safe and cool summer with their pets!