Katherine Marraccini works as a veterinarian and occasionally sees animals suffering from heat related injuries during the hot summer months. As a preventative approach, Ms. Marraccini discusses the prevention of heat related illness for pets to prevent serious injury or death.
Just as humans are susceptible to the intense heat of summer, pets can suffer from burns, dehydration, exhaustion, and heat strokes. Yet, unlike people, animals cannot express when they’re suffering, putting them at a greater risk of health problems. To help protect your pets, Katherine Marraccini says to keep them inside as much as possible, avoid walking them during the day, and always keep their water bowls full.
If a cat or dog shows signs of exhaustion or heat stroke, contact a veterinarian immediately. Leaving them to suffer in the heat can cause long-term damage and even death. In this article, Katherine Marraccini discusses a few important steps for protecting your pets and explains when to seek professional veterinary help.
Never Leave a Pet Unattended in a Vehicle
Everyone knows to not leave their children unattended in a hot vehicle but the same goes for pets. Every year, hundreds of cats, dogs, and other animals die because their owners step out to do some shopping, leaving them to suffer in a hot car. But, unlike humans, animals cannot sweat to cool down, putting them at far greater risk of dehydration and exhaustion explains Katherine Marraccini.
If you must take your pet with you in the car, never leave them alone, even for a short period of time. If you’re going to be more than a few minutes, bring them inside with you or leave them at home and do your shopping at another time.
Keep Pets Inside During the Heat of the Day
When the sun is beating down and the temperature is rising, keep pets indoors. If they must go outside, let them out early in the morning or keep an eye on them during the day. When they are outdoors, make sure they have access to a shady spot to rest and always have fresh, cool water to drink says Katherine Marraccini.
Also, never leave them chained up as this can restrict their movement and prevent them from finding shelter. If it’s impossible to leave them indoors all day, have someone come over to check on them and ensure that they have enough water to last the rest of the afternoon.
Avoid Walking Them on Hot Pavement
Hot pavement is one of the leading causes of injury to dogs during the summer explains Katherine Marraccini. As the sun rises into the sky, the pavement can reach incredibly hot temperatures causing the pads on their paws to burn. To avoid this, find a cool patch of grass for them to walk on or switch up their walking schedule.
Katherine Marraccini says that by choosing to walk them in the early morning or at night, they’ll be able to enjoy the pavement when it’s still cool enough to touch. Also, keep an eye on their paws throughout the summer and look for any signs of redness or irritation.
Signs of Heat Exhaustion or Heat Stroke in Pets
Heat exhaustion and heat stroke are serious medical conditions that can be fatal if not treated immediately. If an animal is panting heavily, drooling, vomiting, or seems lethargic, they may be suffering from heat exhaustion says Katherine Marraccini.
If their temperature exceeds 104 degrees Fahrenheit, they may be suffering from heat stroke. If you suspect that a pet is suffering from heat exhaustion or heat stroke, Katherine Marraccini says to contact a veterinarian immediately. Do not leave them in the heat as this can cause further heal problems and even death.
How to Cool Down a Pet Suffering from Heat Exhaustion or Heat Stroke
If an animal is suffering from heat exhaustion or heat stroke, the first thing to do is move them to a cool, shaded area. Then, apply a cool, damp cloth to their body or give them a cool bath with a hose if available explains Katherine Marraccini. Make sure that they have cool water to drink but do not force them to drink if they do not want to. Additionally, do not give them ice as it can shock their systems.
When to Contact a Vet
If a pet does not seem to improve after moving them out of the heat, do not hesitate to contact a professional. A veterinarian can provide IV fluids to quickly hydrate the animal and then keep them overnight in observation explains Katherine Marraccini. If the animal is suffering from diarrhea or vomiting, the vet can also provide medications to reduce those symptoms.
Pets are susceptible to the same heat-related health problems as humans. To help protect them, keep them inside as much as possible, avoid walking them during the day, and always keep their water bowls full. If a cat or dog shows signs of exhaustion or heat stroke, contact a veterinarian immediately.