It’s summertime in Arizona and that means daytime temperatures that go well into the triple digits and provide little relief at night. We all know to stay indoors and out of the sun during the hottest hours of the day. In addition to protecting yourself and your family from the heat, are you also keeping an eye on your pet for signs of heat stroke? We all know the dangers of leaving animals in parked cars, but there are other risks. Your veterinarians at University Animal Hospital offer some advice on how to detect heat stroke in your pet, how to prevent it, and how to treat your pet for heat stroke.
Signs of heat stroke
Recognizing the signs of heatstroke, or hyperthermia, in your pet is critical to making sure she gets the necessary treatment to lower her temperature. Breeds with shorter noses and those with heavier coats are at a higher risk. Also pets that are overweight, older, or have had medical issues with poor heart or lung function may be at a higher risk. Some of the common signs of heat stroke in animals include:
- Excessive panting
- Heavy drooling
- Dark red and/ or dry and sticky tongue and gums
- Body temperatures of 103 or higher
- Decreased urination
- Rapid or irregular heart beats
- Staggering or stupor
Treating heat stroke
If you think your pet has heat stroke, get him out of the heat or into some shade immediately and take him for emergency attention with your veterinarian. Before taking him to the vet, try to lower his body temperature. DO NOT PUT YOUR PET INTO THE POOL OR A COOL BATH. This can actually make the situation worse. Instead, wrap cool, wet cloths around his paws and head and in his armpit areas on his front and back legs. Only use cool water, ice water can actually be counterproductive if you lower the temperature too quickly. Offer your pet some ice cubes to lick, but don’t force any ice or water into your pet. Even if you are able to lower your pet’s temperature, and he seems normal, take him to the vet to make sure he is not dehydrated or suffering any other complications.
Preventing heat stroke
The best way to keep your pet safe this summer is to take appropriate steps to prevent him from overheating or getting heat stroke in the first place. First be aware of how your pet might be at risk. Does your pet spend a lot of time outside on a tether? Make sure your pet has access to shade all day. If you rely on a dog house or shelter, make sure that it is actually cooler inside. Another good idea is to give your pet a cool bath before leaving for the day. This should help them to stay cooler throughout
the day. If your pet stays indoors, make sure the house stays cool enough during the heat of the day. Indoor and outdoor pets need regular access to fresh cool water. Automatic pet waterers are available if you are out of the home for most of the day. Plan your long walks or jogging during the cooler hours of the day. Make sure to take water for your dog as well as yourself. Taking your long walk in the early hours of the day is the safest time. Not only will the air temperature be cooler, but any sidewalks or pavements that you walk or jog on should be cool and not pose an additional threat of burning your pet’s paws or providing additional radiant heat.
Summers in Arizona are very hot and can pose dangers to your furry family members. Take care to protect them this summer
and take quick, appropriate action if your pet shows signs of heat stroke. The veterinarians at University Animal Hospital can treat pets for heat stroke, dehydration, and other summertime risks, but your best bet is to keep them cool and hydrated.