Summertime is a fun time for all families, including our pets! But it can also be a dangerous time if the heat is not taken into consideration. Heatstroke or Hyperthermia in pets is very common this time of year and should not be taken lightly. If a pets body temperature goes above 102.5 F degrees that is considered hyperthermia. Temperatures above 105F can be fatal as organs are at risk of failure (including cardiac arrest). We as humans sweat, but most pets can only pant to regulate their body temperatures.
How can my dog get heat stroke?
On hot days, it is important to make sure to not leave your dog outside in the direct sunlight or take for long walks, especially without water. Never leave your pet in a hot car unattended. Even on cooler days, where the temperature outside may be only 70F, a cars interior temperature can rise 40F within an hour.
Brachycephalic breeds or “flat faced dogs” such as pugs, bulldogs, Boston Terriers and Boxers are at a higher risk. These breeds can overheat even in moderate heat. If you take your pet anywhere where you need to muzzle them, make sure the muzzle isn’t too tight or they aren’t having trouble panting as this can also cause them to overheat.
Symptoms to look out for in pets with Heatstroke:
The first thing to look for in a pet with heatstroke is excessive panting, vomiting and diarrhea. If a pet is dangerously overheating, you may see the following symptoms:
- excessive drooling
- rapid heart rate
- loss of consciousness.
What do I do in this situation?
Should you find yourself in this situation, try and remain calm while also acting fast. The most important thing to remember is to not put the pet in ice water or anything that is going to shock their system going from too HOT to too COLD. Get them to a cool place and try to get them to drink some water if they are able to. If they won’t drink, take a wet cool towel and wet them down from head to toe. You can also wet the ears, neck, paw pads and armpits and use a fan, which will help them lose heat faster.
Bring them to your veterinarian immediately after you’ve got their temperature down. Once controlled, monitoring the temperature rectally should be done until pet seems back to normal or temp has reached at least 103.
If you have any questions or concerns about heatstroke or hyperthermia, call your veterinarian and we'd be happy to advise you further.