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The “Dog Days” of Summer – Heat Stroke and Your Pet

//The “Dog Days” of Summer – Heat Stroke and Your Pet

Signs and Prevention of Heat Exhaustion in Pets

It’s hot outside!  During the month of August in Pittsburgh, average daily high temperatures are above 80 degrees Fahrenheit.  This can be especially hard on our furry friends.  Dog fur is great protection against the cold but can be a problem in hot weather.  Unlike humans, dogs eliminate heat by panting.  When panting isn’t enough, their body temperature rises. This can be fatal for our furry loved ones.

Every year, hundred of pets die from heat exhaustion because they are left in parked vehicles.  The temperature inside your vehicle can rise almost 20 degrees in just 10 minutes.   In 20 minutes, it can rise almost 30 degrees and the more time that goes by, the higher the temperature goes.   Even on a 70 degree day, your car could reach 110 degrees inside your vehicle.  And cracking the windows makes no difference.

Cars are not the only risk for your pets on a hot day.  Even outdoors in a non-shaded area, the heat can quickly get to your dog and cause serious complications.  If you believe your pet is suffering from heat stroke, remove them from the hot area immediately and proceed to your veterinarian or to University Veterinary Specialists.  We are open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week for emergency veterinary services.

Heat Stroke Symptoms

What do symptoms of heat stroke look like?

Watch for:

  • Rapid panting
  • Bright red tongue
  • Red or pale gums
  • Thick, sticky saliva
  • Depression
  • Weakness
  • Dizziness
  • Vomiting – sometimes with blood
  • Diarrhea
  • Shock
  • Coma

Preventing Heat Stroke

How can you prevent heat stroke?

Any pet that cannot cool himself off is at risk for heat stroke.  Following these guidelines can help prevent serious problems.

  • Keep pets with predisposing conditions like heart disease, obesity, older age, or breathing problems cool and in the shade.  Even normal activity for these pets can be harmful.
  • Provide access to water at all times.
  • Do not leave your pet in a hot, parked car even if you are in the shade or will only be gone a short time.
  • Make sure outside dogs have access to shade.
  • On a hot day, restrict exercise and don’t take your dog jogging with you.  Too much exercise when the weather is very hot can be dangerous.
  • Do not muzzle your dog.
  • Avoid places like the beach and especially concrete or asphalt areas where heat is reflected and there is no access to shade.
  • Wetting down your dog with cool water or allowing him to swim can help maintain a normal body temperature.
  • Move your dog to a cool area of the house.  Air conditioning is one of the best ways to keep a dog cool, but is not always dependable.  to provide a cooler environment, freeze water in soda bottles, or place ice and a small amount of water in several resealable food storage bags, then wrap them in a towel or tube sock.  Place them on the floor for the dog to lay on.

Sources:

https://www.avma.org/public/PetCare/Pages/pets-in-vehicles.aspx

http://www.peteducation.com/article.cfm?c=2+1677&aid=1683

 

By | 2016-08-31T14:10:42+00:00 August 8th, 2016|Canine Health|
University Veterinary Specialists is a specialty and 24 hour emergency veterinary practice acting as an extension of your primary care veterinarian. We partner with them to provide access to veterinary specialists as well as access to expensive equipment such as CT, MRI, and Ultrasound machines.