Recognizing & Preventing Pet Heatstroke
Did you know that on a sunny day, with temperatures at 70° F or above, the temperatures inside of your car can soar to intolerable levels for your family pet? Additionally, when your pets are left outdoors in a non-shaded area, the heat can quickly cause serious health complications.
Dogs don’t sweat like their human owners do. In fact, the only sweat glands that dogs have are located on their feet. So the best way for your pooch to cool down is to use a temperature exchange process, called convection, to cool their skin down in the hot summer sun. Panting and convection are ideal for cooling their body down when they can find a comfortable shady patch outside. But in a hot car, with air temperatures that keep rising, they cannot cool down effectively.
What Are the Common Signs of Pet Heatstroke?
Some of the most common signs that your pet may be experiencing heatstroke include:
- Excessive panting
- Increased heart rate
- Increase salivation
- Thick, sticky saliva
- Bright red tongue
- Red or very pale gums
- Weakness and Dizziness
- Vomiting or Diarrhea
- Depression or lack of socialization
Even the most cautious and experienced pet owners can make a mistake by leaving their family pets outside without enough shade or water. If you notice your pet is experiencing any of these common heatstroke symptoms, it is important that you act quickly and contact our emergency animal hospital in Collin County to schedule an emergency exam.
What Should I Do if My Pet Has Heatstroke?
If heatstroke is left untreated it can lead to seizures, coma, cardiac arrest and even death. If you believe that your pet may be experiencing a heatstroke remain calm and take the following precautions:
- Remove your pet from the hot area immediately and contact our emergency veterinary team.
- During transportation to our hospital, try to cool your pet down with cool wet towels on the back of the neck, in the groin area and under the forelimbs.
- If possible, increase air circulation around your pet with a fan.
- Be aware that cooling your pet too quickly can be counterproductive and cause additional medical issues.
- Even if your pet seems to be recovering, be sure to make an emergency veterinary visit to check for dehydration, hyperthermia or other complications.