Every pet sitter or dog walker worth their weight in pet food knows that heatstroke a very serious condition that can cause dogs and cats to lose their lives. As the temperatures climb in the summer it is important to know the signs of heatstroke and to take precautions to prevent heatstroke. Unlike humans, dogs and cats do not have sweat glands. Their only means of cooling down is through panting and sometimes that just is not enough, leaving them in a crisis of having heatstroke.
Signs of heatstroke in a dog and cat are excessive panting, dark or bright red tongue and gums, sticky tongue and gums, fast heart rate, increased body temperature, staggering, collapse, and shock. If you notice any of these signs it is very important that you begin cooling down your dog or cat before getting in the car to see the veterinarian. The best way to help cool your pet down is to get a towel soaking wet with cold water and place it directly onto your pets body, use two towels if one does not cover the entire body with the exception of the dog or cats face. Once you’ve done this keep the towel on your pet while riding to your veterinarians office, call the office to let them know you are coming. Also offer your pet a drink after you have put a towel on them. Taking steps to reduce the chance of heatstroke can prevent an emergency trip to the vet.
The easiest step to take in preventing heatstroke is to watch the temperature outside. If it is above 85 degrees or the humidity makes it feel like 85 or higher do not take your dog for a long walk. Instead take them on a short walk, just long enough to do their business and then head back home. You can spray your dog with a water bottle before heading outside to help keep them cool. Also limit the time they spend outside in your yard, no more than ten minutes when it hits 85degrees and higher or the humidity makes it feel 85 and above. Having a kiddie pool with cool water made available to them while outside can help too. If you are walking, make sure to stop in a shady area. Make sure there is always a fresh bowl of cool water available to your dog. When taking your dog on a car ride make sure to let it idle with the air conditioning on to cool your car down before taking him anywhere. It doesn’t take long at all for a pet to succumb to heatstroke in a hot car. Make sure to watch your dog for signs of heatstroke in the summer, some dogs will suffer heatstroke quicker than others.
If you own a cat always make sure the house is cool and comfortable in the summer. If your cat is allowed outdoors keep him inside until temperatures drop, usually by nightfall. As cats are more active at night than during the day, as a general rule letting them out when the sun has set is the perfect time. If you do not feel comfortable letting your cat roam at night just keep her inside until daytime temperatures are below 85 degrees. Also be sure to leave a bowl of fresh cool water for your indoor or indoor/outdoor cat. The same rule applies for cats in cars as it does in dogs, heatstroke will come on quickly inside a hot car. Which includes never leaving your dog or cat inside an unattended car.
Summer can still be enjoyable for you and your pet while still preventing heatstroke. Keeping the temperature rule in mind will go a long way in keeping your pet safe, if it’s to hot for you it is to hot for your pet.