Everyone needs to be aware of and avoid heat stroke during the summer months, but few of us realize that our pets are equally at risk. Preventing an emergency is as simple as knowing the dangers and avoiding them:
Avoiding Pet Heat Stroke
- Shaving or clipping hair might be a great plan or a very bad one. In some breeds, fur protects from the sun, flies and mosquitoes. Your vet can advise you on proper summer coat length.
- Take your pet out in the cool of the morning or evening; avoid high-energy activities during the afternoon. If you need to be out, find a comfortable, shady spot to rest regularly.
- Protect your pet’s paws. If the pavement’s too hot for your bare hand, it’s too hot for them.
- Never leave a pet in a car, they can reach sauna temperatures in minutes.
- At home, keep the water bowl full — not milk or cream for cats, they love a bit as a treat, but they need water.
- Put a fan near their bed or favorite hangout, provide shade if needed, and get them up off the ground to get air flowing all around their body.
Heat Stroke Signs and Treatment
Bloody diarrhea, collapsing, difficulty breathing, excessive panting or drooling, increased heart rate, seizures and vomiting mean your pet is in immediate danger.
Animals with short noses have a harder time panting — a prime way for them to lose heat — so Persian cats, boxers, bulldogs, pugs and the like, as well as older pets or those with heart or lung ailments, stand in greater danger. Keep them air-conditioned or in front of fans as much as possible.
If you suspect heat stroke, get that animal cooled off without delay! Towels soaked in lukewarm water are great. (Cold water would chill your pet too quickly.) Also, get your pet in front of a fan. Rubbing alcohol is great for the paw pads or abdomen. Your pets might require intravenous fluids or medications, depending on the situation, so head for the vet’s office on the double.
By the way, hyperthermia isn’t exclusively a hot-summer-day risk. Warm days with high humidity can also be dangerous, so keep alert.
The Future of Veterinary Medicine is in Daly City
At Nor Cal Veterinary Emergency and Specialty Hospital, the San Francisco Bay area’s pets are our prime concern., we provide the same technological and medical advances available to people — the most advanced veterinary care available. We offer 24/7 emergency services and specialty services by appointment. We’re right off 280 freeway, within easy reach of the entire northern SF Peninsula. Come by and see what we can do for your furry friends!