From Exhaustion and Stress to Full-Blown Heat Stroke in Pets
Whether it’s scheduling a dentist appointment or calling the pest control company, we all need reminders from time to time. However, when it comes to the rising temps of Texas summers, no one can afford to forget the importance of staying cool.
Unfortunately, pets don’t have the luxury of making adjustments for their own comfort. Instead, they rely on us to protect their safety and wellbeing. Let the experts at Ten West Bird and Animal Hospital offer up some tips to prevent heat stroke in pets this summer.
For Your Consideration
Heat stroke in pets can sneak up on you, which is why (among other reasons) it’s critical to know the signs. Animals accustomed to playing or exercising outdoors have to scale back their efforts, but all animals are susceptible to the effects of being in direct sunlight. Brachycephalic breeds (i.e., flat-faced), senior pets, kittens/puppies, overweight/obese animals, and ailing pets are all at higher risk.
Not Entirely Effective
To cope with high temperatures, cats and dogs “sweat” through their paw pads and a little bit through their skin (although not super effective with a lot of fur). To regulate internal temperatures, they pant. When an animal is stressed or exhausted from heat exposure, they’ll pant excessively to the point where they have difficulty breathing.
Heat stroke in pets can lead to increased heart and respiratory rates, drooling, weakness, seizure, collapse, organ damage, and even death. If you observe any of these symptoms, seek emergency care immediately.
The summer sun comes up pretty early in San Antonio, and it doesn’t take long for temperatures to soar. Because of this, it’s important to restrict your daily walks to early morning or dusk, and avoid being outside when the sun is at its peak. Also keep the following in mind:
- Even during off-peak hours, concrete, asphalt, and gravel surfaces retain heat. Please be cautious, and take care of any burns, cuts, or abrasions on your pet’s paw pads.
- No matter what your pet is doing, provide them with a constant supply of fresh, cool water. Offer long breaks in the shade, and be careful not to push them too hard.
- At home, keep the temperature cool; have fans running and offer a kiddie pool to splash around in.
- Rabbit hutches should always be placed in the shade.
Heat Stroke in Pets
Please do not drive around with your pet in tow. Leaving them alone in a car, even for a few minutes, places them at risk for death. Even when it’s 75 degrees outside, temperatures inside a parked car can reach triple digits within 15 minutes.
If your pet is having trouble breathing and has a temperature of 105 degrees or higher, they need immediate medical attention. Spray lukewarm water directly on the skin or drape a wet washcloth over them. Ice packs can cool a pet down too rapidly, resulting in shock. Provide endless amounts of water.
If a rectal thermometer still reads high, your pet will need emergency care involving oxygen therapy and cool IV fluids to restore blood flow to vital organs.
Please contact our team if we can be of any assistance. We hope you have a fun, safe summer!