heat strokeSummer months and warmer weather can present a challenging environment for your pet. Dogs aren’t nearly as adept at controlling their core temperatures as humans are. They can’t take off their fur coat, adjust the thermostat or roll the car windows down.

Dangerous situations include leaving a pet in a back yard without shade or exercising a dog in direct sun. Exercising induced hyperthermia is the what we see most often at Town N Country. But nationwide, leaving a pet in a parked vehicle is the most common situation that can lead to heat stroke or hyperthermia.

A study done by Stanford University* reveals that the temperature inside a parked vehicle can commonly spike 40 degrees within an hour. Cracked windows or even leaving the air conditioning running didn’t significantly alleviate the warmer ambient air.

So this means that on a day when the temperature is a comfortable 70 degrees Fahrenheit outside, the temperature inside a car can be 110 degrees in an hour.

Hyperthermia requires immediate treatment and can be life threatening. Know the signs to watch for in your pet:
1. Excessive panting and restlessness
2. Discharge from the nose or drooling from the mouth
3. Unsteadiness while walking
4. Gums turning blue, purple or bright red
5. Seizures
6. Vomiting or Bloody diarrhea
7. Coma

Keep in mind that short-nose breeds like Pekingese, Pug and Boston Terrier can be particularly susceptible because their panting may not be sufficient to cool increased body temperatures.

What to do:
1. Call your vet.
2. Get your dog out of the environment where she became overheated.
3. Move your dog to a shaded, cooler place and direct a fan on her.
4. Cool your dog slowly. Place cool, wet towels on the back of his neck, in armpits and groin region. You could also wet her ear flaps and paws. Avoid the use of ice or cold water.
5. Keep drinking water available, but don’t force water into your pet’s mouth.
6. Stay with and observe your dog closely.
7. Once your dog’s cooled down and stable, take him to the vet. Heat stroke or hyperthermia affects nearly every system in the body. Your dog should be checked for any inconsistencies or potential problems.

If you have any questions about heat stroke and your pet, give us a call. A bit of prevention remains your best approach to protect pets during hot summer months.
Photo Credit: santiago nicolau via Compfight cc