Heat stress also known as heatstroke can actually cause serious health issues in your precious pets including organ failure and eventually death. Heat stress for animals is a very hot topic and so important for owners to understand and recognise the signs and symptoms. Heat stress can occur all year round not just the warmer months.
The most important thing for you as an owner to do is PREVENTION, heatstroke can kill pets quickly and it is only a matter of time bfore its too late if the signs are not picked up early enough. Before getting to that scary stage follow these easy steps for prevention and to keep your pet safe.
What is Heatstroke?
Heatstroke is a state of hyperthermia resulting in heat injury to tissue. Heatstroke can occur when heat generation exceeds the bodies ability to lose heat.
Unlike humans who have sweat glands all over their body, cats and dogs don't, they have a limited amount of sweat glands in their feet and around their nostril. That's it ! Panting and external colling are the only other way to reduce heat. Animals with thick or black coats as well as brachycephalic breeds feel it the worst.
Ensuring your pet has a cool, well ventilated and shaded area in conjunction with our handy tips can make a massive difference to reducing heat stress in your animal. Clean drinking water at all times should go without saying.
What causes Heatstroke?
-Warm/ hot/ humid conditions with not enough ventilation
-Inadequate drinking water
Signs and symptoms?
- Panting, which increases as heatstroke progresses.
- Drooling, salivating.
- Agitation, restlessness.
- Bright red tongue.
- Very red or pale gums.
- Rectal temperature is over 105° F
- Stumbling, staggering
- Signs of mental confusion, delirium
- Lethargy, weakness
- Muscle tremors
- Collapsing and lying down
- Little to no urine production
- Increased heart rate.
- Breathing distress.
- Vomiting, diarrhoea (possibly with blood)
What should i do if i suspect my pet has Heatstroke?
Know how to do Emergency First Aid at home if you suspect your pet has heatstroke. Initial emergency treatment at home should aim to normalise body temperature.
- Remove your pet from the hot environment immediately.
- Apply or spray tepid/cool water onto the animal’s fur and skin. Then apply a fan/fanning to maximise heat loss.
- Wetting down the area around your pet can also help.
- Don’t use ice-cold water or ice as this may worsen the problem.
- Then take your pet to the nearest Veterinarian immediately.
- Heatstroke is an emergency – always see a vet. Even if your pet looks like they may be recovering or you just suspect they might have heatstroke they should still always be checked by a vet.
- Putting your pet on a drip (intravenous fluids)
- Cooling treatments e.g. cooling enemas
- Supplemental oxygen
- Medication as required
- Blood tests to check organ function
- Ongoing monitoring and treatment as required
Tips and tricks for prevention
1. Provide extra fresh water, what you would normally give them, double it in warmer weather days.
2. Use frozen stock cubes as little hydrating treats to stimulate and cool your pet, run them under running water for a few seconds first so they do not immediately freeze to your pets mouth.
3. ALWAYS allow shade for your pet, look to sit under areas with plenty of shade. Another substitute is to create shade using an umbrella or clothes. Doggy tents are an excellent idea and easy to take anywhere!
4. Paddling Pools are awesome !!! Not too deep but to just get their underbelly and legs cool, not freezing water either.
5. Plan your walks. Refrain from taking your pet for walks during peak times from 10-4 depending on temperatures and destination. Early morning and late evenings are the best. Hot pavements are an added danger and another reason to try walk outside peak heat times. Consider a dog walker if you're not an early bird ?
6. Cooling mats are just the best. They are simple to use and effective. Even though you don't need to put them in the fridge to cool it wont hurt to do it as an added layover of coolness. The gel activated mat provides a nice comfort and protection for animals. Check out our range at Snorty & Shorty!
7. NEVER LEAVE YOUR DOG IN THE CAR! No excuse is ok, even on the cooler days dogs can overheat in such a small space and die. In some states they prosecute owners who leave their pets in the car. Check out this amazing chart to prove how much we disapprove the dog-in-car idea.
8.Invest in a small fan, floor fan or just aim your air conditioning to the ground to give the little guy on the floor some cool air. You might feel it and think its working but often our fur friends don't. At night, a small low level fan will make your pets sleep an enjoyable one which also means a good night sleep for you too!
9. Always carry water when out for exercise with your pet. This is so important for hydration especially if you're walking them in peak heat times. We love the Pet Bots for this exact reason, its a handy bottle that has a built in drinking mound that allows water to flow in and out of the bottle by a simple press of a button, any excess water goes straight back into the bottle which means no more de touring or stopping for water refills.
10. Get a pet thermometre which allows you to monitor your pets temperature and ensure he/she isnt overheating. They are inexpensive and not as complicated as they seem to. Handy little tool which can save lives. Remember, the faster you can recognise the signs and symptoms the bigger chance at survival.