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Three Key Ways to Help Your Pet Avoid Heat Illness This Summer

Our pets are beloved members of our families and as such, we do everything we can to keep them safe, happy, and healthy. Although your pet may be up-to-date on their vaccinations and flea and tick medication, it’s essential to recognize the hazards that may be less controllable, such as heat illness.

Heat Illness Symptoms

Before you can prevent heat illness, you must fully understand what it is. Heat illness, also called heat exhaustion or heat stroke in more severe cases, is a variation of hyperthermia which is a condition that is brought on by excessive heat that your pet’s body does not have the power to regulate causing the body temperature to soar beyond the safe range, typically reaching temperatures of 105F or more. When your pet develops heat illness they may display one or more of the following symptoms:

·       Fast or heavy panting or unstable breathing

·       Signs of dehydration, such as dry nose, lethargy, and sunken eyes

·       Excessive, thick drool

·       Red, purple, or blue gums

·       Dry gums

·       Rapid rise in heart rate

·       Shaking or shivering

·       Vomiting or diarrhea

·       Weakness, staggered mobility, or collapse

·       Seizures

If you notice any of the above-mentioned symptoms it’s imperative to take your pet to the nearest veterinary hospital immediately for professional intervention.

Combating Heat Illness

When your pet develops heat illness you are faced with a frightening situation. However, heat illness can easily be avoided with a little extra attention and some strategic planning. The most effective guideline to follow is when the weather is uncomfortably hot for you, your pet feels the same.

Avoid Hot, Confined Spaces

Pets do not possess the same ability as humans to regulate body temperature by sweating, so they have an increased sensitivity to excessive heat. This means your pet should never be left in a hot, confined space, including a parked vehicle, even if you roll the windows down.

Keep Your Home Cool

While most people crank their air conditioner in the summer months, you may be looking to save money by shutting it off before leaving the house. However, this is a dangerous move as a pet owner as the temperature of your home can quickly rise to dangerous levels that can be life-threatening to your pet. Instead, adjust your thermostat to around 75 degrees to avoid costly utility bills while ensuring your pet is in a safe environment.

Avoid Peak Temperature Hours

The midday sun is dangerously hot, and this heightens the risk of your pet developing heat illness when exposed to the outdoors during those hours. Mitigate the risk of your pet falling ill by going on morning or evening walks when the sun is less threatening. If your pet absolutely must go outside during peak temperature hours, keep it short and provide them with plenty of shade and water upon their return inside.

For more strategic ways to keep your pet safe from heat illness this summer, reach out to your trusted veterinarian today.

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