On these summer days, if you are feeling hot, your dog is feeling hotter. Dogs don’t sweat like we do, so they have to rely on panting, which is not as effective at cooling them off. Heat stroke can happen fast, and its effects can be devastating for a pet.
That’s why prevention is key.
Signs of heat stroke in dogs (and cats)
• Rapid panting, sweaty feet, drooling
• Excessive grooming (in cats)
• Rapid pulse and breathing
• Redness of the tongue and mouth
• Stumbling, staggering gait
If your pet is just starting to show signs of distress from the heat, or if you think she is suffering from heat exhaustion or heat stroke, take a few steps to start the cooling process. Most important, don’t let efforts to help your pet delay you more than a few moments from getting to the vet, as time is critical for animals suffering heat stroke.
• Move the pet to a cool area and offer lots of water to drink
• Wet down the skin with cool water. Avoid freezing water or ice—these can cause blood vessels to constrict, slowing the cooling process. And ice can damage your pet’s skin.
Prevent heat stroke — play safe
Summertime can still be a fun time for you and your pet. Here are a few fun activities that help beat the heat.
• Hose down your dog in the backyard, play in a kiddie pool or under the sprinkler, or give a cool bath.
• Go swimming. Try pools, safe lakes or dog beaches. Remember to rinse off chlorine or salt afterward.
• Take walks in the early morning, not afternoon.
• Have a summer snack together. Dogs love watermelon (remove the seeds and don’t give the rind) and popsicles.
• And it’s always okay to just hang out inside in the air conditioning. Watch a movie together (dogs love
unbuttered popcorn!), play a not-too-wild game of ball or fetch, or just take a nap.