Watch your pets for these signs of heatstroke when temperatures climb

Posted: August 5, 2022 2:03 pm

The hottest weather in decades that is sweeping across most parts of the United States this summer can be even more dangerous to pets than to people.

The danger is more acute for dogs than it is for cats, which are more suited to desert-like conditions. Dog owners in particular, therefore, should know what to do to keep their dogs safe in the heat, experts advise.

Tips for dog owners

To help them do so, Jackie Bondanza, CEO of Hounds Town USA—a 30-plus dog daycare franchise based in Ronkonkoma, New York—offers information and tips.

Ensure that your dogs have plenty of shade and fresh water.

Remember that they can quickly become dehydrated.

Dogs that are kept in an enclosure that has no shade during times of intense heat during the day are particularly vulnerable to suffering from heat exposure. They have nowhere to hide from the sun. Make sure, therefore, that your dog is not kept in such a situation.

Never leave your dog in a parked vehicle when it is hot.

Cars that are parked in direct sunlight can heat up extremely fast. Dogs can become dehydrated quickly, leading potentially to their dying from heatstroke in such a car.

For example, when it is 85 degrees outside, the temperature in a car even with the windows slightly open can reach as high as 102 degrees within 10 minutes.

Avoid trimming your dog’s hair too much.

A dog’s coat can actually help it from becoming sunburned as well as from overheating on a hot day.

Keep your dog away from hot pavements.

A hot pavement can be damaging to a dog’s paws. A way to test whether a concrete or tar surface is too hot for a dog is to test it with your bare hand. If you find that you cannot stand the heat, you can be sure that neither can your dog’s paws.

When it is extremely hot limit walking times to mornings and evenings.

You should always err on the side of caution during times of extreme heat, Bondanza advises. When the weather seems really hot to you understand that it can be even worse for your dog.

Watch for signs of heatstroke.

If you notice any signs that your dog might be suffering from heatstroke or becoming overheated you should act immediately.

Among the signs are glazed eyes, excessive panting, a rapid heartbeat, excessive thirst, difficulty breathing, fever, lethargy, lack of coordination, dizziness, excessive salivation, a purple or deep red tongue, vomiting, unconsciousness, seizure, and even collapse.

You can help your dog in such a situation by ensuring that your dog is cool. Call a veterinarian immediately for further advice and help.

Tips for cat owners

Cats can tolerate hotter temperatures than dogs, although they can experience difficulty in coping with the heat when the temperature is above 102F. The reason is that their body temperatures range from 95F to 102F.

A cat will not come to you if it is suffering in the heat. To protect your cat from dehydration and heatstroke, watch its temperature closely and take special care that it is protected from the heat should the temperature gauge climb above triple digits.

A cat suffering from heatstroke or dehydration will show symptoms that include wet paws, a body temperature above 105F, vomiting, panting, a rapid heartbeat, seizures, dizziness, restlessness, and loss of appetite.

You should keep a closer watch, however, on long-haired breeds, such as Persian and Birman’s. They have long coats because they originated in places where nights are cold or there is a strong winter season.

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