Heatstroke Survival

Pet Parents:

As many of you know, the summer heat presents health hazards for us humans, as well as our four-legged friends. Remember, if your hot, most likely your dog is even hotter.  They too can experience heatstroke and even on moderately warm days can succumb to heatstroke.

Heatstroke occurs when a dog loses its natural ability to regulate its body temperature, which is regulated through respiration (panting), as they do not sweat all over their bodies the way we do. If a dog’s respiratory tract cannot evacuate heat quickly enough, heatstroke can occur.  Pet owners should use caution with their pets during the summer months and be certain to consider the following:

Avoid dehydration by always having fresh, clean water available and lots of shady places where pets can cool off. When the weather’s extremely hot, keep your pets indoors and cool if possible.

Limit exercise to either early in the morning or late in the evening. Before starting your walk, give the sidewalk a test with the palm of your hand. If it’s too hot to touch, it can burn your pet’s footpads and should be avoided.

Bring outdoor pets inside and share the air conditioning with them.  If they must remain outdoors, make sure there is a shady and sheltered place to rest and fresh cold water available at all times.

Do not ever leave your dog alone in a parked vehicle. Even with the windows open on a hot day, a parked car is like an oven and heatstroke can occur within minutes.

Following are some symptoms of overheating.  Watch for these signs and call your veterinarian for a consult if you feel your dog may be experiencing heatstroke:

Excessive panting, difficulty breathing and thick drool;

Vomiting and diarrhea;

Mild weakness, stupor or appearing uncoordinated or collapsing.

If you have even the slightest suspicion that your dog is suffering from heatstroke, you should take immediate action.

First, move your dog out of the heat and away from the sun immediately.

Begin cooling your dog by placing cool, wet rags or washcloths on the body-especially the foot pads and around the head.

DO NOT use ice or very cold water. Extreme cold can cause the blood vessels to constrict, preventing the body’s core from cooling and actually causing the internal temperature to further rise. In addition, over-cooling can cause hypothermia, introducing a host of new problems. When the body temperature reaches 103 degrees, stop cooling.

Offer your dog cool water, but do not force water into your dog’s mouth.

Call or visit your vet right away – even if your dog seems better. Internal damage might not be obvious to the naked eye, so an exam is necessary (and further testing may be recommended)

Most importantly, make sure to enjoy the rest of the summer with your four-legged friend!

It is that time of year again…fireworks, hot weather and thunder storms will be a part of all of our lives. It is important to remember how loud noises and heat can affect your pet. Here are a few tips to help keep them safe:

·         Place your pet in your home with a TV or radio on to help drown out loud noises such as fireworks and/or thunder.

·         Think about enrolling your pet in an air conditioned day care facility like ours to keep your pet cool and safe during the summer heat. They will have a blast with all of their new friends!

·         Never leave your pet in a vehicle. Temperatures can rise to dangerous and even deadly levels in a matter of minutes in the summer sun and heat!

·         Never leave your pet unattended outside for long periods of time during the summer weather.

·         Always have plenty of cool, fresh water available for your pets.

·         We have all heard about the rise in lime disease in our area. It is important to treat your pet each month for fleas and ticks. You may also want to treat your lawn for fleas and ticks. There are many great products available at your local garden centers including “green” alternatives.

·         A full grooming on a regular basis can help keep your pet in great health during the summer months. Ear cleaning, nail trimming and baths are an important part of your pet’s care.


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