As summer gets started it is important to remember the dangers heat represents to your pet. Cats and dogs are susceptible to overheating, which can have a number of serious consequences. The first line of defense is always making sure that your pet has ample water to combat dehydration and heatstroke. Animals release heat differently than humans, making ambient humidity very important. Try to limit vigorous exercise to the early morning or late evening, thereby avoiding the hottest hours of the day and reducing the risk of heat exhaustion.
Recognizing the signs of heatstroke could save your pet’s life. Common symptoms include heavy panting, glazed eyes, rapid heartbeat, abnormally excessive thirst, lethargy or tiredness, fever, dizziness, loss of motor coordination, vomiting, a discolored tongue, seizures and unconsciousness. If you suspect that your pet has heatstroke it is crucial that you rehydrate them and reduce their body temperature. Immediately move them into a shaded or air-conditioned area, applying room temp to cool water over the skin and placing in front of a fan is ideal. Most heat is lost via convection over the skin and airflow (fan) helps reduce temperatures. Once stabilized, take them to your veterinarian.