“Beat the Heat”
The kids are out of school, summer vacation has arrived, and so has the heat of summer. The increased temperature is generally welcomed by most but if our furry friends could speak up I’m sure some of their comments would revolve around wearing an insulated fur coat in the dead of summer and not being able to sweat like their owners to cool themselves off.
Most people are aware of how hot a car can get with the sun beaming through the closed windows and this is no place for a pet or child to be left for any length of time. Even if for a supposed short period of time, pets can easily over heat in a locked car even if the windows are mildly cracked in less than 45 minutes. Rule number one in the summer, never leave your pets in a car, especially on very hot days.
Other tips that can alleviate the risk of overheating/ heat stroke for your pets is to exercise in the early morning or late evenings. Walking in the middle of the day when the temperature is at its highest degree can significantly impact your pets overall condition and make it remarkably difficult to regulate their body temperature. It is also recommended that your pets be walked on grass rather than the hot pavement. Spending too long walking or standing on the hot pavement can cause burns or even sloughing of the paw pads which can be very painful.
There are some breeds that are a little more predisposed to heat intolerance such as bulldogs, boxers and other brachycephalic breeds. These short-nosed breeds have less room for air to move and circulate to allow evaporation which is the cooling mechanism used in dogs and cats. A temperature above 104 F to 107 F is reaching the realms of significant hyperthermia leading to heat stroke where the body starts to shut down. Temperatures reaching 109 F can be fatal and important proteins start to break down.
Some of the signs that can help identify if your pet is becoming heat intolerant include significant excessive panting/ drooling, discoloration of the gums appearing purple/blue and pacing or unsteadiness. If able to obtain a rectal temperature that reads greater than 104, seek veterinary care immediately. Some helpful things to do in route to the veterinary hospital is to place wet towels on the back and neck, wet the paw pads, abdomen and ear pinnae. If able, direct a fan on the wet areas to accelerate evaporation. Once in veterinary care, you pet may need to receive IV fluids and be monitored for signs of systemic organ shock.
Though heat intolerance and heat stroke are dangerous conditions with potential fatal outcomes, taking the proper precautions can enable you and your pet to enjoy the summer sun together. If you have further questions about summer heat safety for your pet, please call The Animal Hospital at Lake Brandt and we will be happy to answer your questions.