Thursday, May 22, 2014

Watch out for heatstroke in your pets

The heat is on in large parts of the USA. Here in Florida, pavements are scorching and it is definitely too hot for pets to be outside in the middle of the day. Dogs are more susceptible to heat stroke than humans; they can't sweat like we do, and panting is the only way they have to cool off.

Heatstroke is a severe condition that can lead to brain damage, kidney failure, liver failure, lung damage, bleeding disorders, swelling of airways, muscle damage, and death.

Here are some common symptoms of heatstroke to watch out for:

  1. An anxious expression, or a blank stare
  2. Heavy panting and raspy breath
  3. Open mouth breathing
  4. Bright red gums
  5. Salivation
  6. Vomiting
  7. Collapsing, stumbling, or falling down
  8. Elevated temperature
  9. Lying flat on cool surfaces
  10. Skin feels warmer than normal
  11. Seizures

In order to avoid this, make sure your pet has access to a cool area. If you don't have air conditioning, use fans to increase circulation. You can spray small animals with a spray bottle of water set at a fine mist.

Things to do if you suspect heatstroke:

  1. Hose down your pet so their panting slows down. This helps prevent their body temperature from rising any further.
  2. Call the vet. Don't take a "wait and see" approach; call the vet
  3. Keep the AC on in the car to keep your pet cool. If you don't have AC, keep the windows down and create a cross draft.
  4. When you reach the vet, treatment for heatstroke may include intravenous fluids, oxygen, and a blood test to see if there is any organ damage
  5. Severe cases can require hospitalization for up to ten days. 

~ Maria Sadowski ~


  1. Replies
    1. Very scary! It's super hot here in FL right now, and the dogs think I'm an awful mom because I won't let them go out in the middle of the day, LOL.