Many people look forward to the longer and warmer days as this gives a better opportunity of spending more time outdoors with family and friends.
It is important to remember that if you own a pet that you take the extra precaution to help protect them from the heat, especially with the recent summers being extremely hot and dry compared to other years.
Unfortunately, many pet owners forget that pets heat up a lot faster than us and it results in many animals passing away from heat exposure; which could have been prevented.
However, if you take the time to learn about the dangers of your pet being too exposed to heat, your dog will be most likely not experience a heat stroke or become overheated.
What is a Heat Stroke?
Heat stroke can occur for both animals/pets and humans.
It occurs when your body cannot maintain normal and safe body temperatures; which results in overheating. Unlike humans pets do not sweat, which makes it even more difficult for them to cool down naturally. Instead, they pant which is a less effective way to cool down the body to normal body temperatures.
A heat stroke if not diagnosed and treated at an early stage can lead into multiple organ failures. Therefore, it is important to recognize the symptoms, treatments and also learn about ways to prevent heat stroke.
Symptoms of Heat Stroke
When it comes to heat stroke there are many different symptoms, but it is important to recognize them and seek emergency attention as soon as possible if they occur.
Here are some of the many possible symptoms and/or signs that your pet may be suffering from a heat stroke due to; too much heat exposure:
- Rapid panting
- Excessive drooling
- Gum redness
- Increased body temperatures
- No or small amounts of urine
- Rapid heart rate
- Irregular heart beat
- Kidney failure
- Cardiopulmonary arrest
- Fluid buildup in the lungs
- Small, areas of bleeding
- Change in behavior
- Muscle tremors
- Unstable movement
Causes of Heatstroke
The main cause of heat stroke in pets is when they spend too much time in excessive environmental temperatures or in humidity without access to shade or water.
This also includes being enclosed in a room or in a car. However, there are some other causes of heatstroke that do not link to high temperatures such as upper airway disease, underlying diseases, poisoning, anesthesia complications and excessive exercise; can all cause heatstroke for pets.
Which Pets are More at Risk of Heatstroke?
There are certain pets that are more prone to developing heat stroke; therefore, it is important to acknowledge if your pet is at greater risk. This will allow you to take the extra precautions to prevent heat stroke from developing.
- Senior dogs
- Overweight and/or obesity
- Previous heat stroke history
- Heavy coated animals
- Poor heart and lung conditions
- Short-nosed and/or flat faced breeds
- Insufficient water consumption
Treatments of Heart Stroke
The first thing that you should do if your pet is suffering from heat stroke is to immediately take them out of the hot and dry environment.
This will allow your pet to try and cool down their body temperatures to reach normal and safe temperatures.
Some of the cooling techniques that you can use at home include:
- Spraying your pet with cool water
- Putting your pet in a cool tub of water
- Wrapping your pet down will wet towels
- Cooling by using a fan
It is important to note that you should not use ice cold or freezing water to cool down your pet. This is because it can lead into other health problem and can drop below the normal body temperatures.
After you have tried to lower your pets body temperature at home it is important to go and get your pet examined by the veterinarian to ensure that your pet has stabilized normal body temperatures again.
In some cases there can be complications that can occur which require immediate attention.
Some of the possible treatments may consist of:
- Intravenous feeding
- Oxygen supplementation
The After Care
After your pet has finally reached stable and safe body temperatures it is important to monitor your dog closely for a few days.
In addition, you want to make sure that they are getting enough fluids, shade and food throughout the day as well.
Prevention of Heat Stroke
The best way to avoid heat stroke from occurring is to know how to prevent it from happening.
Here are some of the few techniques you can use as a pet owner to help prevent heat strokes from occurring:
- Keep them cool and provide shade
- Have access to fresh and cool water all the time
- Do not leave your pet in a hot parked car
- Restrict exercise to early mornings and late evenings
- Do not use a muzzle
- Allowing your pet to swim or have access to cool water
- Provide cooler environments inside the home
- Provide ice cubes that they can chew on
- Air conditioning and/or cooling fans