Heatstroke occurs when your pet's body temperature gets too high. Dogs and cats dissipate heat by panting, but in some conditions, that's not enough to adequately lower their temperatures.If you suspect heatstroke, get your pet cooled down and contact your veterinarian or take your pet to the nearest emergency clinic
- Heatstroke can happen while you are exercising with your pet OR when your pet is somewhere that they overheat. Even if your dog has been exercising with you all year, remember as the temperature starts to rise so will your pet's body temperature. Try to exercise first thing in the morning or last thing at night.
- When a dog is left outside, the dog must always have a shady shelter and access to cool water - do NOT place water where it is sitting in the sun.
- When an owner leaves a pet in a parked car, even with the windows open, temperatures in a car can climb to lethal degree levels within minutes. (Even if the temperature is in the 70's or 80's.) NEVER leave your animal unattended in a parked car.
- NEVER leave your animal in the back of a pickup truck. There is no shade and also the bed(floor) of the truck bed becomes scorching hot quickly!
Signs of Heatstroke
- Excessive panting
- Excessive drooling
- Vomiting and/or diarrhea.
- Very red gums.
- Pet is walking very slowly or oddly.
- Has collapsed and/or becomes unconscious.
- Notable lethargy or odd behavior, seizures
- An elevated heart rate - Normal heart rates: DOGS - 70-160 beats per minute, CATS - 160-240 beats per minute.
If You Suspect Heatstroke
- Move your pet to the shade or preferably inside to an air conditioned area.
- Apply cool water NOT cold water. You can submerse your pet in a sink, bathtub, or wading pool for 'a minute' or so at a time. If you are not able to lift your pet, you may use a garden hose to wet your pet down with cool water. (Make certain the water is cool because sometimes water coming from a garden hose can be VERY hot!) Start by wetting the paws, legs and neck and then wet the rest of the body.) If you do Not have a hose nearby, then wet towels (if you do not have a towel, then soak a piece of clothing) and place on your pet's paws, neck and head (do Not cover nose or mouth).
- Your goal is to get the temperature down to 104 in the first 10 to 15 minutes. In order to do this properly you will need a rectal thermometer or a digital thermometer. Lube the end with petroleum jelly and insert the end into the rectum. Rectal thermometers need to stay inserted for at least 3 minutes and a digital until it beeps. In order to keep your pet calm through out this procedure, have someone at the animal's head.
- IMPORTANT: Call your veterinarian AND then get to a veterinary hospital IMMEDIATELY!!!
NOTE: It is very IMPORTANT to seek veterinary medical advice as soon as possible since there can be serious conditions that can result from heatstroke that may appear only after several hours, such as brain swelling, seizures, kidney failure, and blood-clotting abnormalities.