Protect Your Pets & Prevent Heat Exhaustion This Summer

Summer is a dangerous season for any pet, especially if not given the proper care and attention. Read below to learn more about how to protect your pets, and prevent heat exhaustion. What are the signs that your pet is in danger?

Article by Amber Kinglsey

By now we should all know that we should never, ever, leave an animal unattended inside a car during warmer months. Not for one minute for any reason. Even in cooler temperatures in the 60 degree range, the internal temperature in a car can reach well over 100 degrees according to the NHTSA (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration).

So now that we’re beyond that threat, what are some other ways we can protect our pets from becoming overheated and suffer from possible heat exhaustion? The first thing we should do is recognize the symptoms of a possible heat stroke in a dog:

  • Strange behaviors for no apparent reason, agitation, restlessness, whining, barking or other forms of vocalizing.
  • Excessive drooling (hypersalivation), foaming or frothing at the mouth
  • Weakness, lethargy or listless
  • An elevated heart rate (tachycardia), difficulty breathing or excessive panting, which may stop and start again
  • A dog lays down and is difficult to arouse (recumbency)
  • Confusion, disorientation or a lack of coordination (ataxia)

If a dog becomes too overheated and actually suffers from a heat stroke, the next symptoms can include uncontrollable muscle tremors, seizures, collapse, coma and death. Even though it may seem tempting, if a dog is overheated, do not immerse them in cold water as this could cause shock or a heart attack – cool or tepid water is best or simply getting them to a cooler environment.

If the symptoms are serious or persist even after they have cooled off, seek immediate medical attention. Even though we’re all on a tight budget and want to save money on our pets, it’s better to be safe than sorry.

Which animals are more at risk?

It’s also good to know which dogs are at a higher risk for the possibility of heat stroke, which includes younger and older animals. Brachycephalic breeds, those with shorter snouts like pugs, have greater difficulty keeping cool along with overweight animals and dogs with darker colored coats. Dogs with hyperthyroidism, heart disease, lung disease or thick hair coats are also at risk.

While it may be tempting to shave a dog in warmer months, some dog’s coats act as insulation just as this helps our homes to stay warmer in the winter and cooler in the summer. Consult a professional groomer before considering this drastic measure. This could also be dangerous for dogs with lighter skin as this could increase their risk of sunburn.