The Dawg Days of Summer
If it’s too hot for you, it’s too hot for your pet!
The most intense heat of the summer is upon us, and it’s more important than ever to protect your pet against overheating and heat exhaustion. Dogs’ natural body temperature is about 101°. At around 104°, heat exhaustion begins to set in, and heatstroke becomes more likely as their temperature rises. The goal is to intervene before this point, but it’s also important to know what to do in the off chance that your pet does reach that threshold.
The most important thing is to know the signs of overheating:
- Excessive Panting
- Excessive Drooling
- Elevated Heart Rate
- Tongue and Gums Turning Red or Blue
Symptoms of heat exhaustion are relatively easy to prevent. Avoid leaving your pet in a car or other extremely hot spaces, and leave water in places that are easily accessible. Try to take walks or potty breaks in the morning or afternoon, not during the heat of the day. Not only does this protect your pet from overheating, but hot asphalt and concrete can burn their paws. Lastly, keep your pet in a well-ventilated, cool area, whether that be indoors in the air conditioning or outdoors in a shady spot. Additionally, it is important to know if your pet’s breed has any notable risk factors. For example, flat-faced breeds like pugs and bulldogs are extremely susceptible to overheating, and must be monitored in elevated temperatures.
Should your pet experience overheating or heat exhaustion, it’s imperative to know how to get their body temperature down, and what circumstances require a veterinarian’s attention. In extreme cases, overheated pets should be directly transported to a veterinarian as soon as possible. Heatstroke can be fatal if left untreated. However, most cases are very treatable, and can be remedied in a few simple ways:
- Immediately get the pet to a cooler area. Indoors is best, but placing them in cool water - not cold, as rapid cooling can do just as much harm as overheating - will help to lower the body temperature.
- Offer them cool - again, not cold - water to drink.
- Check their temperature, if possible, and monitor it until it is at a normal level.
- Contact their veterinarian if their symptoms continue or they show persistent signs of lethargy.
Fifty-four companion animals died of heat-related causes in 2020. If every pet parent worked towards responsibly monitoring their animals for overheating, that number could be brought down exponentially. At Pampered Pet Inn, our goal is to encourage responsible pet ownership, and to prevent these kinds of incidents. A great phrase to remember this summer is, “If it’s too hot for you, it’s too hot for your pet!”