It’s always a good time to revisit the rules of pet heat safety and dog heat stroke prevention. Heat exhaustion and heat stroke are more common in pets than you think, but they are also easily preventable with proper precautions. With summer just about in full swing, let’s go over some important reminders about protecting your companion from hot weather hazards, and help them stay cool and content this season!
If you have any questions or concerns about heat safety and heat stroke in dogs, give us a call at (732) 671-3110.
Tips to Protect Your Pet from the Heat
Here are some of our most important recommendations for protecting your pet from heat hazards and keeping them safe.
Don’t Leave Your Pet in the Car
You may have heard this many times before, and there’s a good reason for that. Leaving a dog or cat in the car on a warm day, even with the windows rolled down, can potentially be fatal for them. The inside of a car can increase by 20 degrees Fahrenheit in just about 10 minutes.
Either leave your pet at home, or have someone sit in your car with your pet, with the air conditioning running.
Walk Your Dog When It’s Cooler Outside
Instead of taking your dog for a walk during the middle of the day, walk them a little after sunrise or at sunset. The air and pavement will both be cooler, so your pet won’t be at risk for overheating or suffering burns on their paw pads.
Make Sure They Have Shade and Water When They’re Outside
If your pet needs to be outside for any reason, make sure they have a shady spot to go to, and access to fresh drinking water. Even if they will only be outside for a short time, it’s better to be safe and ensure your pet has what they need to stay hydrated and protected from the sun.
Limit Outdoor Exercise and Play
If it’s going to be a scorcher of a day, try not to let your pet exert themselves too much while they’re outside. Keep outdoor exercise to a minimum and, if possible, move playtime indoors.
Invest in a Cooling Pad
If you lack an AC unit, get a cooling pad for your pet to rest on while they’re inside. A steady supply of fresh, cool drinking water will also help them regulate their body temperature.
What are the Symptoms of Heat Stroke in Dogs?
Knowing the signs of heat stroke in dogs can save lives. If your pet is exhibiting any of these signs, get in touch with us right away by calling (732) 671-3110!
- Acting sluggish and lethargic
- Acting dazed and disoriented
- Labored breathing and panting
- Difficulty walking, standing
- Having trouble urinating
- Tongue and gums look bright red
Heat stroke can be deadly for dogs, just as it can be for humans. Furthermore, certain breeds are more vulnerable than others.
Dog Breeds Most at Risk for Heat Stroke
There’s a certain characteristic shared by several well-known dog breeds that puts them at risk for heat stroke. Having a flat (brachycephalic) face puts Pugs, English Bulldogs, Shih Tzus, Boxers, and French Bulldogs at a disadvantage in hot weather, because it hampers their breathing. Dogs pant to cool off, but if they have a flattened face, they cannot cool off as effectively. Their elongated soft palate and narrow nostrils simply make breathing more difficult. Therefore, if you have one of the breeds listed above, be extra careful when taking your pup outside and limit their activity so they don’t over-exert themselves and overheat.
What to Do If You Think Your Dog has Heat Stroke
First, don’t panic. Second, avoid splashing ice-cold water on your pet, or getting them to drink ice-cold water. This can cause them to go into shock. Instead, carefully move them to a cool, shady place and contact our hospital immediately at (732) 671-3110, or get in touch with the nearest emergency vet if our hospital happens to be closed. Then, soak some cloths or towels in cool (but not ice-cold) water and gently drape them over your pet to help them cool down. The most important thing is to have a veterinarian examine your pet and administer the necessary treatment to stabilize them and ensure they are out of harm’s way.
As always, we’re happy to answer all your questions and provide assistance when needed! Reach out to us at (732) 671-3110 for more information.