Did you know that like people, pets are susceptible to things like heatstroke, dehydration and heat exhaustion, among other heat-related illnesses?

What Are The Symptoms?

If you suspect that the summer heat is affecting one of your pets, do you know what to look for? Many people aren’t aware so here are a few symptoms to look for in your pet:

  • Excessive panting (any panting in a cat)
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Restlessness
  • Abnormal gum color
  • Hypersalivation
  • Lethargy
  • Collapse
  • Seizures
  • Increased body temperature (in excess of 105 degrees)
  • Death

If you notice any of these signs in your pet and feel that they may be suffering from a heatstroke, take them to a veterinarian immediately. While on the way to the veterinary hospital, begin cooling your pet by placing towels soaked in cool water on your pet. Do not immerse your pet in cold water or use ice or ice packs to cool your pet.

What Pets Are At Risk?

Heatstroke most commonly occurs in dogs left in cars during the summer months. Large dogs, overweight dogs, brachycephalic dogs (short-nosed dogs), and dogs with heart disease are at highest risk. Working and athletic dogs are also at risk when exercised in hot weather. While heatstroke is uncommon in cats, it can occur and usually affects cats who are accidentally trapped in a clothes dryer. Any pets kept or trapped in sheds or garages with low ventilation in hot weather are also at risk.

How Can I Prevent These Issues With My Pets?

You can protect your pet from coming down with heatstroke or heat exhaustion by using these tips:

  • Keep your pets indoors on warm days if possible
  • Make sure outdoor pets have access to cool shady areas and plenty of water
  • Do not leave your pet in the car unattended
  • Always check your clothes dryer prior to running it
  • Avoid exercising your pet on hot or humid days

What is the Treatment for Heatstroke

Your veterinarian will perform a complete assessment on your pet and begin or continue the cooling process. Your pet may be provided supplemental oxygen, fluid therapy, and medications to help counteract the detrimental effects of heatstroke on the body. Many pets with heatstroke will need to be hospitalized for multiple days.