Preventing Heat Stress and Injury in Pets
When the weather warms up, it’s fun to enjoy the outdoors with your pet. Very hot days, though, can lead to dangerous heat stress. Dogs and cats can’t sweat to lower their body temperature like humans do. Panting helps them to reduce their temperature, but it doesn’t work very well on hot days.
What are the Signs of Heat Stress?
Heat stress happens when an animal’s internal body temperature goes up rapidly to an unsafe level. This can lead to organ failure and even death unless the pet is treated is treated immediately. Symptoms include:
- Excessive drooling
- Rapid panting
- Increased heart rate
- Membranes of tongue, mouth, or eyes turn red
- Vomiting, diarrhea
Pet Tips: How to Prevent Heat Stress
Here are some healthy pet tips from our San Diego veterinarian to help your dog or cat stay cool this summer:
- Limit outdoor activities - If it’s more than 80 degrees outside, take your dog for shorter walks, at cooler times in the early morning or evening. Find shady spots to rest along the way, and don’t overexert. If it’s over 90 degrees, your pet is at high risk for heat stress—stay indoors.
- Give pets access to lots of cool water - In hot weather, dogs and cats can get dehydrated easily, making them more vulnerable to heat stress.
- DON’T leave your pet in a parked car, even in moderate weather - It takes only 20 minutes for a car to heat up from 75 degrees to 104 degrees.
- A summer haircut (no shorter than one inch) can be a cool comfort to some breeds.
- Cool your pet off - If your dog collapses from the heat, use a hose to cool them off and call your San Diego veterinarian immediately for help.
Following these precautions will help keep your pet safe throughout those dog days of summer.
For More Advice on Having a Healthy, Happy Pet, Contact Our San Diego Veterinarian
Our veterinarian in San Diego provides compassionate care for both routine and emergency cases. To schedule an appointment, call Tierrasanta Veterinary Hospital at 858-292-6116.