To make sure your pet doesn’t get heatstroke, use the same logic that applies to people; if it’s too hot, you need shade, water and sunscreen, a pool is always nice and a hot car without air conditioning is unbearable!
Heatstroke is when the body becomes so hot it is no longer able to keep itself cool. When the body temperature becomes too high, vital organs and the brain get damaged which can be fatal.
Dogs and cats can only sweat a tiny amount through their foot pads, so to cool down, dogs pant and cats sensibly seek shade, but this isn’t always enough if it is a scorching hot day.
It is easy to avoid your pet getting heatstroke in the garden and at home, you need to ensure they have plenty of shade and fresh cool water, if you can, it is a great idea to get a small paddling pool for your dog during the hot summer months so they can cool down and have lots of fun too!
Don’t take your dog for a walk if it is too hot, on a very hot day it is okay for your dog to rest in the shade, exercise will raise their temperature and speed up the effects of heatstroke.
A pet’s coat is like a furry blanket, so if your pet has long thick hair, they will overheat much more quickly, so we suggest that you keep their coat trimmed in the summer months. Your pet will also be at greater risk to the effects of heatstroke if they are overweight, are a breed with a shortened face like a Pug, Bulldog or Persian cat, or suffer with breathing difficulties.
Symptoms of Pet Heatstroke
- Fast panting
- Difficulty breathing
- Increased heart rate
- Sticky saliva and drooling
- Bloody diarrhoea
If your pet gets heatstroke, you need to make immediate efforts to cool them down:
- Take them into the shade
- If you can, get them into a cool bath or paddling pool or use a hose
- You can use a packet of frozen vegetables on their face
- If your pet has passed out from the heatstroke be careful to not get water in their mouth or nose
- Give them lots of cool, fresh water to drink
- Once your pet has cooled down properly, you should get them to a vet as soon as possible because there could be hidden damage cause by overheating.
Heatstroke usually occurs through carelessness, often when dogs are left in hot cars. Cars in the sun very quickly become like ovens, rolling down the window is not enough. You should never leave your pet in a hot car, even for a couple of minutes as your dog’s vital organs won’t be able to function in the extreme heat and the damage could lead to fatality.
For more advice on pet healthcare throughout the summer, please contact your team at The Vet, who will be more than happy to help. Remember no appointment is needed, just pop in during our consulting times, we offer free parking and even have our own water cooler, perfect for those hot days!
Prevention: Important rules for dogs in hot weather to prevent heat stroke
- Never leave a dog alone in a car Be aware of keeping your dog cool when on car journeys together e.g. leave a window open for fresh air and stop regularly to check your animal properly
- Always ensure a plentiful supply of drinking water
- Never leave a dog in a sunny place with no shade
- Give long haired dogs a short clip
- Exercise the dog out of the heat i.e. morning or evening. Be mindful that the hottest parts of the day for us are magnified for dogs by the fact that they are wearing a large thick coat and can only sweat through their paws
- Take your dog for a cool swim rather than a walk
- Give the meals at cooler times of the day e.g. morning and evening
- Carry water with you when out on hot days, and give your dog frequent small amounts