a lazy cat sleeping on table

Being in the great outdoors with your pooch is so much fun during the summer months, with ample opportunity for hiking, walks, frisbee, camping, swimming, and more. Unfortunately, along with the fun comes the risk of too much sun and heat for your dog.

It’s important to understand the signs of heat exhaustion in pets to prevent serious medical problems, such as heat stroke. Read on as the team at Godspeed Animal Care helps pet owners protect their furry friends from the summer heat for a wonderful experience in the outdoors.

Recognizing the Signs of Heat Exhaustion in Pets

When a pet is exposed to intense heat, the body temperature can rise to dangerous temperatures. Anything over 103.5 F is considered hyperthermia. This is when the body goes into heat stroke, which is a life-threatening state that puts the organs of the body under serious duress. 

Before getting to this emergency state, a pet will experience heat stress or heat exhaustion. Leading to heat stroke, your pet may exhibit some of the following:

Your pet may just generally seem uncomfortable. If your pet continues to be left outdoors, the serious symptoms of heat stroke will arise, such as:

  • Increased panting and drooling
  • Red or pale gums
  • Incoordination
  • Weakness
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Seizure

It’s important to view these signs as a pet emergency and get your pet help right away. Move them to an area with air conditioning and place tap water temperature (not cold) wet towels on your pet to help cool them down. Contact us for further instructions and treatment.

Keeping Your Pet Safe in the Summer

Unlike us, pets don’t sweat. Their cooling mechanism is done through panting and limited evaporation from the paws – a relatively inefficient process. It’s up to us to manage their exposure to the sun and higher temperatures.

There are several things to consider before being outside in the sun with your furry one.

  1. Never leave your pet unattended in the car or in an enclosed space without air conditioning, such as a shed or garage.
  2. Monitor how your pet is feeling when they are outside with you. If you notice an increase in panting or discomfort, move them indoors.
  3. Know your dog’s risk. Some pets, such as those who are obese, aged, or those who are brachycephalic breeds like pugs and bulldogs, are at greater risk of heat stress.
  4. Spend time outdoors with your furry one during the early morning and late evening hours, when it is cooler.
  5. Always provide shade, whether that’s from tree canopies, an umbrella, or patio. Make sure to take breaks when your pet can relax with you under shade.
  6. Offer plenty of water for your pet and extra for the car ride.
  7. Don’t exercise your pet during the heat of the day. Instead, play games indoors, such as tug of war and puzzle toys.

Would You Like More Information?

Playing outside in the summer with your pet is an enjoyable activity for you both. Just be certain to use all of the necessary precautions to keep them cool and hydrated. 

If you would like more information on heat exhaustion in pets, please contact us. Stay safe and cool!