Summertime Tips - How to Know if Your Pet is Overheated
It's officially summertime, especially if you're in the southeast U.S. like we are!
With an increase in temperatures comes an increase in the potential for heatstroke in animals. The American Kennel Club states, "As a dog’s temperature rises, blood rushes to the surfaces of the tongue, gums, and membranes to help transfer excess heat.
Frantic panting, extreme salivation, bright-red membranes, and labored breathing are clear warning signs that your dog is overheated and may quickly progress to a metabolic meltdown as his temperature rises to over 106 F and he can no longer cool himself.
He may gasp for air, and the entire mouth will become grayish to purple because of the unmet oxygen demand. As he dehydrates, the saliva thickens, and he may vomit and have diarrhea. Unable to stand, he may have a seizure, become comatose, [or even] die. Even if you can cool him and he acts normal, rush him to an emergency clinic because his organs may have already been damaged and death could follow."
How to Keep Your Pet from Overheating
- When outside, make sure that your pet has access to shade and fresh, cool water.
- Don't leave your pet outside for long periods of time.
- Never leave your dog in the car. According to the AKC, "Even on a cool day (mid-60s) the temperature in a closed car rises to 130 F in minutes."
- Avoid participating in high-stress activities outdoors, especially at times when the temperature is at its peak.
- Stay especially mindful of older pets or pets with health concerns.
- If your pet is at home alone while you are at work, running errands, visiting friends, etc., consider installing a temperature alarm for the inside of your home or RV. This way, you'll know if the temperature in your home rises while you are away.
- If you are planning on enjoying an outdoor activity with your pet, make sure you pack extra water and towels for cooling.
What to do if Your Pet Becomes Overheated
- Immediately move them to a shaded or cooled area.
- Spray them with cool water.
- Provide fresh water for drinking.
- Wipe their face with a cool, wet cloth.
- Fan them, either manually or turn on an electric fan if available.
- Don't hesitate to take them to the closest vet. Even as their bodies start to regulate, they could have damage to their organs if the overheating was severe.