Hot, Humid, and Hazardous: Heat-Related Conditions in Pets

When temperature and humidity levels rise, your pet’s heatstroke risk increases. This condition occurs when your furry pal becomes overheated, and any pet can be affected. However, certain factors can increase your pet’s heatstroke risk. Pets who are overweight, double-coated, geriatric, or have heart, respiratory, or endocrine disorders are more likely to experience heatstroke, as are pets who have had the condition previously. To help your pet avoid a summertime health emergency, read our Woodinville Veterinary Hospital & Urgent Care Services team’s guide to heatstroke, and learn how to recognize overheating signs and help prevent the condition from becoming life-threatening.

What are heatstroke signs in pets?

Although your pet likely enjoys warm summer days, if they begin to pant and drool excessively, they are exhibiting early heat-stress signs, which can progress to heatstroke. When outdoor temperature and humidity levels are high, monitor your pet closely for the following signs that indicate they are overheating:

  • Heavy panting
  • Thick, ropy drool
  • Bright red gums
  • Lethargy
  • Disorientation
  • Stumbling while walking
  • Weakness
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Collapse
  • Seizure

Heatstroke can progress rapidly. Your pet may be panting heavily and stumbling while walking, suddenly collapse, and have bloody diarrhea within a short time frame. Because of heatstroke’s severity and the speed with which the condition occurs and causes organ failure, you must cool off your pet as soon as they exhibit overheating signs.

What should I do if my pet is overheating?

If you suspect your pet is overheating, immediately bring them to a cooled area, such as your air-conditioned home or vehicle. In addition, run tepid water over your pet. 

Do not wrap your pet in a wet towel, as doing so actually traps heat. In addition, do not apply rubbing alcohol or ice to their paw pads, groin, or armpits, because your pet’s body will shunt overheated blood to the organs, hastening organ failure. 

To help dissipate heat and speed evaporation, point a fan at your pet. Check their body temperature every five minutes. To avoid causing hypothermia, once your pet’s rectal temperature returns to the normal 102.5 degrees, stop your cooling measures. You should then bring your pet to Woodinville Veterinary Hospital & Urgent Care Services for emergency heatstroke treatment and monitoring.

How can I keep my pet safe during hot weather?

High temperature and humidity levels can make your pet miserable and cause your four-legged friend to experience a heat-related emergency. To keep your furry pal safe during hot weather, follow these tips:

  • Avoid uncomfortable conditions — While you likely keep your pet indoors when the weather is extremely hot and humid, don’t allow mild conditions to lure you into a false sense of security. Although you may be able to tolerate temperatures in the low 80s, your furry pal can quickly become uncomfortable, and overheat rapidly. Plan your pet’s outdoor activities accordingly by heading out during the coolest part of the day, which is typically early morning.
  • Leave your pet at home — No matter how much your four-legged pal enjoys a car ride, leave them home if you must run an errand to a business that is not pet-friendly. Never leave your pet unattended in a vehicle, even if it is running. Your pet can accidentally shut off the engine or bump the air-conditioning control knobs, altering the temperature inside. Leaving the windows down and parking in the shade do not provide nearly as much relief as you think, and your pet can quickly overheat. Rather than bringing your pet with you while running errands, leave them in your air-conditioned home to relax while enjoying a tasty treat such as a Kong stuffed with xylitol-free peanut butter.
  • Encourage your pet to hydrate — Keep your pet well-hydrated by ensuring they always have clean, fresh water available. Entice your pet into drinking more by setting up a pet drinking fountain or adding ice cubes to their water bowl.
  • Stay off hot surfaces — Although your pet’s paw pads may seem tough, they are actually sensitive and can easily burn when traversing hot surfaces. Asphalt, pavement, and sand heat up quickly under direct sunlight, becoming so blazing hot that the surface can scorch your pet’s paw pads within minutes. To help avoid paw injuries, walk your pet on dirt, grass, or shaded paths, or head out during the early morning hours, before asphalt, pavement, and sand have heated up.
  • Limit outdoor exercise — Some pets don’t know when to take a break while playing outdoors, running until they overheat. Keep a close eye on your pet and call it quits before they become too hot.

Heatstroke is a life-threatening emergency that requires emergency treatment. If your pet exhibits overheating signs, administer cooling first aid at home, then give our Woodinville Veterinary Hospital & Urgent Care Services team a call to let us know you are bringing your four-legged friend to our facility.

By |2024-02-15T00:00:10+00:00July 21st, 2023|Uncategorized|0 Comments

Share This Story, Choose Your Platform!

Leave A Comment

Go to Top