With a hot summer approaching, it is important to remember the basics on how to keep your pets safe this season. Dogs, cats and especially rabbits and guinea pigs are prone to heat stress like we are. Spending prolonged periods of time in very hot and poor ventilated environment can cause heat stress in no time.

Dogs and cats have their own cooling mechanisms but they have limitations and once they cannot cool the body down the real trouble starts. Core body temperature will rise and the body will overheat resulting sometimes in serious consequences. High body temperature can severely impair the normal function of the internal organs and brain which can result in seizuring which will increase the body temperature even further.

What are the symptoms of heat stress?

Panting, collapse, drooling, high body temperature or feeling very hot to touch and even seizure are very common signs. Some breeds such as dogs and cats with short noses are more likely to overheat then others because they already have impaired cooling mechanisms. Young and old animals are more likely to get overheated then others.

How long does it take for my pet to get heat stress?

It will depend on the conditions the pet is in. If it is in the car or other enclosed area directly exposed to the sun and without any water, it could develop in no time. Even short periods of time could be very dangerous.

What do I do if I think my pet is affected by heat stress?

The first think it to remove it from the hot environment. You may try to cool your pet down while on the way to your vet. Cool water, cool packs applied to the groin area/armpits, offering cool water, leaving in the air-conditioned environment may help your pet recover. Alcohol swabs applied to paws, groins and armpit area may help too...we are talking stronger spirits...beer won’t do.

Might help the owner though..

What can your vet do for your pet?

The cases we see are usually severe ones. Your pet will have to be cooled down and placed on intra venous fluids to promote the cooling of its inner temperature. The body temperature must be monitored while cooling the body down because your pet may get hypothermic/too cold and this could make the problem worse. If the pet is seizuring a sedative will be given to keep it seizure free. Most pets will recover in a day to two but complicated cases may need hospital care and treatment around the clock.

So what can I do to keep my pet safe this summer?

  1. Make sure you never leave your pets in the car for prolonged periods of time unattended
  2. Make sure you always leave the windows open if you must leave your pet in the car
  3. At home make sure you leave plenty of water for your pet before leaving them unattended and provide them with some shade
  4. Avoid taking your pets for a big walks/runs when it is very hot day
  5. Offer your pet water frequently if going for a long walk on a hot day
  6. Remember if it is too hot for you, your pet will feel the same....

Stay cool and safe this summer.

Vets4Pets Team