By: Dr. Lawrence Lamb, DVM, Manchester Animal Hospital
Protecting canines in hot weather is crucial to ensure their well-being and prevent heat-related illnesses such as heat stroke. Here are some tips to help keep your canine friends safe and comfortable during hot weather:
Signs of heatstroke in pets can vary but may include the following:
Excessive panting: Dogs and cats regulate their body temperature through panting. If you notice your pet panting heavily and excessively, it may be a sign of heatstroke.
Increased drooling: Heatstroke can cause pets to salivate more than usual. You may observe excessive drooling or thick, ropey saliva.
Weakness and lethargy: Heatstroke can make pets appear weak, lethargic, or unsteady on their feet. They may be unable or unwilling to move.
Vomiting or diarrhea: Pets suffering from heatstroke may experience gastrointestinal distress, leading to vomiting or diarrhea.
Bright red gums and tongue: Heatstroke can cause the gums and tongue to appear bright red or even purplish in color.
Rapid heartbeat: An elevated heart rate is another indication of heatstroke. You may be able to feel your pet's heart beating rapidly if you place your hand over their chest.
Glazed eyes or confusion: Heatstroke can cause pets to appear disoriented, confused, or have a dazed expression. They may have difficulty focusing or responding to commands.
Difficulty breathing: Pets may experience difficulty in breathing or exhibit rapid, shallow breathing due to heatstroke.
Collapse or seizures: In severe cases, pets may collapse, have seizures, or lose consciousness. This is a critical emergency, and immediate veterinary attention is required.
If you suspect your pet is experiencing heatstroke, it is crucial to act quickly. Move your pet to a cooler area immediately, preferably with air conditioning or a fan. Offer cool (not cold) water to drink and wet their body with cool water. Contact your veterinarian right away for guidance and seek professional veterinary care as soon as possible.
Remember, different breeds and individual dogs have different tolerances to heat, so always pay attention to your dog's behavior and adjust their environment accordingly. When in doubt, consult with a veterinarian for specific guidance based on your dog's needs.
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