Heat Stroke and Stress

As the weather becomes warmer, we are outside more with our pets. And as our pets spend more time in the sun, their temperature rises which leads to the release of excessive body heat through panting and their paws. In high temperatures it makes it difficult for our pets to lower their body temperature, which can lead to heatstroke. If spotted early, you will see your pet develop excessive panting and agitation. However in the later stages they can become lethargic, seizure, collapse and can become quite serious, developing into organ failure or even death. A dog’s normal body temperature is around 38 degrees Celsius, so when it rises above 40 degrees, it means there is a problem. If your pet’s temperature is above 40 degrees you might notice reddened gums, a rapid heart rate, breathing distress, vomiting, mental depression, seizures or they might become wobbly on their legs.

If you are trying to cool your pet down, it is important to not cool them down too quickly or below normal body temperature. You can do the following with caution to help manage heat stress; move your pet to a colder area, use cold, wet towels and change them as soon as they become warm, use ice packs wrapped in a towel against the inner thigh area and offer water for them to drink regularly.

To prevent heat stroke keep your pet indoors (air conditioned room or cool area), avoid exercise on a hot day, always have water accessible, place water in several places, offer bedding in a cool and shaded environment, offer ice blocks, offer cool, damp towels for the pet to sit or lie on, offer a shallow wading pool in the shade for the pet to walk through, and never leave your pet in the car. Temperatures in cars can easily be double the temperature of the outside environment so it is extremely important to never leave your dog in a car.