We’re in the hottest stretch of summer, with temperatures regularly reaching over 90 degrees. It’s all too easy for people and animals to develop heatstroke or another heat-related illness now that temperatures are at their highest peak of the summer. While you can protect yourself from the effects of extreme heat, your pets depend on you to keep them safe. Considering that 50 percent of dogs and cats who suffer heatstroke die as a result, it essential that you recognize the symptoms of this common disease as well as how to prevent it.
Tips for Heatstroke Prevention
We at Battletown Animal Hospital know how much you love your pet and want to take great care of her. Here are some tips to keep her safe from heatstroke this summer:
- Keep your dog or cat’s water dish continually full to avoid the risk of dehydration. If your pet will be outside for a while, place a water bowl out there as well and make sure he knows the location of it.
- If your pet is traveling with you, don’t leave her inside of a hot car while you go inside a store, gas station, or restaurant. Contrary to popular belief, leaving the window cracked won’t prevent an animal inside of a hot car from developing heatstroke. If the outside temperature is 80 degrees, it only takes 10 minutes for the temperature inside of the vehicle to exceed 100 degrees. If you’re gone for 30 minutes, the inside temperature can reach 120 degrees and your pet has no way to escape it. Significant and irreversible organ damage can take place at this point.
- Before you let your pet outside for an extended time, make sure she has access to several shaded areas.
- Dogs need outdoor exercise during all four seasons. During the summer, it’s best to exercise with your dog during the late afternoon or early morning hours when the rays from the sun are less powerful and the temperature is not so high. It’s also a good idea to avoid walking your dog on hot sidewalks or other paved areas on extremely warm summer days.
- Most dogs love swimming. For the days when it’s too hot to go to the beach or you just don’t feel like it, consider purchasing a kid’s plastic swimming pool and filling it with your garden hose. Your dog can jump in any time he feels too warm. Another idea is to place a cooling pack on your dog’s skin for a few minutes when he comes in from spending time outdoors.
Typical Heatstroke Symptoms in Dog and Cats
Sometimes heatstroke will still occur despite your best efforts. Other times you won’t realize how the heat has affected your pet until she starts showing signs of illness. Here are the signs to look for:
- Gums appear dry, sticky, or bright red
Severe heatstroke can cause seizures and eventual death. Be sure to get your pet out of the heat immediately if you notice any of these symptoms and then contact Battletown Animal Hospital right away. You can place a towel with cold water on your pet’s skin to keep her cool on the way to the clinic. Please let us know if you have additional questions about keeping your pet safe this summer.
Photo Credit: Pixabay