Tips to prevent heat stroke in dogs and cats during the summer season

Heat stroke, also known as hypertermia or sun stroke, is a disorder that affects humans and our pets when our body reaches such high temperatures that it cannot be reduced by the usual means.

Tips to avoid heat stroke in dogs

The increase in body temperature of dogs up to 42º C can cause excessive loss of body fluids. Dogs, unlike humans, do not perspire, and regulate their temperature by panting. This loss of body fluids causes a thickening of the blood, so that its circulation slows down. The slowing of circulation hampers the functionality of the circulatory system and leads to a progressive decrease in the transport of oxygen throughout the body.

In summer, there are many situations in which dogs are exposed to possible heat stroke. For example, we should avoid leaving them locked in vehicles or on glass terraces, keeping them tied up outdoors or going for walks at very high temperatures, especially dangerous in adult dogs and brachycephalic breeds such as bulldogs or boxers.

There are some symptoms that can indicate that our pet is suffering from heat stroke. The first one is a continuous and intense panting with abundant drool production. Next, the animal may show serious breathing difficulties and show signs of restlessness and nervousness.

If we look at its mouth, we can see if its gums show bluish tones due to deficient organic oxygenation. Another symptom is a reduced ability to move normally, which may lead to loss of consciousness, tremors, balance disturbances, spasms or convulsions.

If our dog is suffering from heat stroke, the first thing to do is to move our pet away from the environment that caused the heat stroke. If the dog is conscious, it is advisable to move him to the shade and offer him cool water in a controlled manner.
Next, we must lower the dog’s body temperature. To do this, we should wet him. If possible, we will do it all over his body, rubbing him with cool water especially in areas such as neck, armpits and groin.

Tips to avoid heat stroke in cats

As with dogs, there are some symptoms that can indicate if our cat is suffering from heat stroke, such as panting, difficulty breathing, intense reddening of the mucous membranes, fever or vomiting.

Among the tips to prevent them, experts recommend that the first thing to do is to ensure a cool environment. Cats do not find it as easy as people to regulate their body temperature. Cats sweat mostly through their paw pads, but they also have some sweat glands on their chin, anal area and lips.

The temperature they are able to withstand is quite similar to the temperature we people tolerate. Therefore, the ideal temperature will be the same as for people in summer and winter, so it is essential to have as cool an environment as possible.

It is important to have good ventilation at home, and if we spend a lot of time away from home for work or other reasons, make sure he has access to a shaded area with plenty of fresh water.

The role of water is fundamental in relieving cats from the heat. Considering that they are reluctant to drink water, it is important that we encourage them to hydrate. It is advisable to use fountains, such as smart drinking fountains, which always provide fresh water in an attractive way and also inform us of the amount of water our cat is drinking.

In the event that we believe that our cat is suffering from heat stroke, we should try to cool it down. If it is complicated to put our pet in the bathtub, which it usually is, it is possible to wet him with a wet towel or, simply, to pass our wet hand over his back and his head. This way, the water will have the same effect as his saliva and will help him in the evaporation of his body.


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