Summer is all about warm weather, healthy exercise, and fun in the sun. Unfortunately, too much time in the sun can create serious health issues for our playful pets. To make sure your pets stay safe this summer, know the signs of heat distress in your furry friends and how to help if things get too hot to handle.
All mammals create internal heat. In cool weather, it’s easy to pass excess heat into the environment, but in hot, humid weather there is little evaporation taking place and excess heat is everywhere. The combination of internal and external heat may overwhelm your furry friend’s ability to cope, especially if you add physical activity to the mix.
Pet-Safe Fun in the Sun
To keep your pet safe from heat exhaustion and other heat-related injuries this summer, make sure that:
- He or she isn’t exercising in the heat of the day
- Your pet is well hydrated – have lots of fresh water available at all times
- Your pet can retreat to cool shade or go indoors on hot days
- Blistering-hot asphalt roads, cement sidewalks, and/or burning beach sand aren’t roasting your pet’s unprotected paws (if in doubt, test the surface with your own bare foot)
- Your pet is never, ever left alone in a parked car for any reason, even for “just a few minutes”
- Extra water is available on excursions for cooling the outside of your pet as well as the inside
- Your pet isn’t exposed to excessive UV radiation causing sunburn, skin and nose cancers, and cataracts
Heat-Stroke: The Worst-Case Scenario
Heat stroke is a potentially deadly condition that can and does kill pets. One minute everyone is having a blast, the next minute your precious pet has collapsed. You must recognize the symptoms and immediately take him or her to the nearest veterinary clinic, or your pet may not recover.
When it’s hot and humid, limit your pet’s level of physical activity and act rapidly if he or she shows signs of:
- Excessive panting or uncontrollable drinking
- Staggering, head shaking, or confusion
- Drooling, vomiting, or diarrhea
- Bright red, tacky or dry gums, or bright red external ears
- Lethargy, unresponsiveness or unconsciousness
- If any or all of the above symptoms are present, immediately:
- Bring your pet into the shade or air conditioning
- Wrap cool, wet cloths around your pet’s head, neck, feet and stomach (Do not use cold water, ice, or ice water as they will worsen shock); re-wet the cloths frequently to keep them cool
- Present water but do not force water into his or her mouth
- Call your vet for instructions and transport your pet to the nearest emergency clinic
Summer Pet Safety: We’re Here to Help!
The best time to treat heat injuries is before they happen, so be aware of the symptoms of heat exhaustion and heat stroke. Our staff will be happy to give you additional information about hot weather pet safety; just call us. To check our hours of operation, make an appointment for your pet, or ask questions about any pet health issues, just give us a call.