Vet Blog

Heat Stroke and Your Pet

May 17, 2018

With summer approaching, we are starting to feel that hot, humid weather coming back too.

With the arrival of the increased temperatures, it is important to make sure we protect our pets from the heat as well as ourselves. One concern we have when it is hotter outside is the risk of heatstroke in our pets. Heatstroke is when the body temperature elevates to over 105 degrees Fahrenheit due to exposure to a hot or humid environment or from strenuous exercise. Severe, uncontrolled seizures or tremors could also result in heatstroke. Heatstroke is a very dangerous, life-threatening illness that requires immediate veterinary treatment. It can cause damage to almost all of the organs and systems in the body.

Dogs that are brachycephalic (short-nosed) such as pugs, Boston terriers, Pekingese, and bulldogs or obese pets are particularly at risk for heatstroke. It is very important that pets left outside have adequate shade and protection from the heat and access to plenty of fresh water. It is also important to never leave your pet in a vehicle unattended, even if the day seems relatively cool. A study from Stanford University Medical Center found that the temperature inside a car can elevate as much as 40 degrees Fahrenheit in as little as 1 hour regardless of the outside temperature! A dog suffering from heatstroke may appear distressed or lethargic, panting excessively, restless, or unsteady on his feet. If you suspect your pet may be suffering from heatstroke, rapidly cooling him is very important. Try to start cooling him down by placing cool wet towels and a fan on him and cool water on his ear flaps and feet as you bring him to your vet for emergency care.

We hope you and your four-legged friends stay safe and cool this summer season!