Prevent Heat Exhaustion in Pets

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It is the beginning of August... and the temperatures are reaching triple digits! Let’s protect our pets from the scorching heat this summer. As much as we want to spend time in the outdoors, we want to remind you to be aware when your pets are experiencing overheating or heat exhaustion. Without taking notice, our pets can experience severe conditions such as heat stroke, hyperthermia, or cardiac arrest.

Some symptoms of overheating in dogs are excessive panting, pale or dry gums, increased salivation, rapid heart rate, vomiting, and hyperventilation. If you notice any of these symptoms, it is best to make a trip to your local veterinarian for a checkup.

Here are several ways to keep your dog cool to prevent your dogs from overheating:

  1. Know when your dog has had enough. If you notice your dog slowing down during a hike, listen to his or her body. Find a comfortable place in the shade and have a rest. If there is a river or clean body of water nearby, wet their feet and body to cool them down. Read on about tips for hiking with your dog here.
  2. Provide a cool, wet towel over his or her fur. There are cooling towels specifically made for pets! Soak the towel in cool, iced water, and place it over your dog’s neck. When it begins to dry out, re-soak to refresh the cooling process.
  3. Provide fresh drinking water. This is an obvious one, but this is so important! No matter where you are, either at the dog park, or at a friend’s house, always be sure that your dogs have access to fresh water to quench their thirst. If they are leashed or in an enclosed area, please be sure their water bowl is in reach.
  4. Turn on the air conditioning. After a long day of being outdoors, your dog will appreciate being in a cool room with air conditioning. This goes for you too.
  5. Use a cooling mat. This comes in handy when you are indoors. Place this on the living room floor or inside their kennels. The mat pad should keep your pooch cool when they put pressure on the mats. These are great for absorbing body heat and reducing body temperature.
  6. Electrolytes. If you know you’re going to be out for a long period of time, it is a good idea to purchase electrolytes for your dog. These supplements replenish the vitamins and minerals your dog needs for strenuous exercise under hot weather. This will help maintain hydration.
  7. Take your pet’s temperature. If the temperature is between 103-106, it is moderate overheating. Beyond 106 degrees is considered severe overheating. If it is above 106, it is your best bet to seek veterinary attention.
  8. Visit the vet. If there are severe symptoms and your dog is not improving, please seek veterinary care immediately! Your vet will tell you what the primary cause of these symptoms and provide you with information for further care.

Remember, if it’s too hot for you, it’s too hot for the dogs too! Please always put your pets’ safety first.

Winnie Goh