Hyperthermia also known as heat exhaustion occurs when your pet’s body temperature rises above an internal temperature range that makes them unable to regulate their own body heat. Hyperthermia ranges from mild heat exhaustion, which can be easily treated, to severe heatstroke, at which point your pet can quickly lose consciousness, run a high fever, or even worse, they can have organ failure. As we are coming into the hottest months of the year pet owners need to be prepared to keep the pets safe and cool.
A dog’s body does not have the ability to respond to heat in the same way that it owners do. Dogs and cats too for that matter, only have very few sweat glands in their paws as well as around their noses, therefore they rely on external cooling and panting to keep their core temperature down. Pets with longer hair are especially more prone to suffering from heat exhaustion or stroke.
What are the signs of heat exhaustion?
• Heavy breathing or excessive panting
• Inability to urinate
• Overall weakness or lethargy
• Excessive drooling
• High or rapid heartbeat
• Discolored gums (often dark purple or blue, can also be bright red)
• Vomiting or diarrhea
How to Prevent Heat Exhaustion
• Avoid walks or outdoor play and exercise when temperatures are high
• NEVER leave your pet in a hot car
• Keep the inside of your home cool
• Do not leave your pet outside in high temperatures
• Make sure your pet has access to water at all times
• Make sure your pet has adequate shade IF they have to be outside for any reason
How to Treat Heat Exhaustion
• In the event of unconsciousness or severe vomiting or diarrhea drive your pet to the nearest veterinary
clinic or hospital.
• Get them into a cool place immediately
• Put cold packs or wet towels on their ears, paws, and belly
• If able, place your pet into a cool to lukewarm bath… do NOT use cold water or ice as this can cause body
• Make sure to give them plenty of water, this also should be cool and have no ice
Our pets rely on us to take care of them. What we believe may be fun for our animals may in fact be quite the opposite. Think about your pet before taking them on that picnic lunch or on the family beach trip- they may be best left at home cool and safe.
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