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Preventing Heatstroke in Dogs and Cats

Summer is finally here and San Diegan’s are soaking up the sun! Unfortunately, with warmer weather comes new responsibilities when it comes to our furry friends. Fur coats aren’t the most practical summer-wear, and our pets are just as prone to over-heating as we are. It is important to know the signs and symptoms of heat stroke and how to prevent it.

Keeping your pet at a comfortable temperature is the most important thing. Failure to do so in extreme heat could cause heat stroke. You probably know what a heathy body temperature is for people, but do you know what the core temperature of your pet should be?

A healthy human body runs at 98.6 degrees. We reach risk of heatstroke at 105°, and Fatal Core Body Temperature is about 109°.

Dogs and cats run at a healthy 101.5 degrees. Fever or heatstroke can happen if they reach 103°, and their Fatal Core Body Temperature is about 107°.

Fortunately, there are lots of things you can do for your pets to make sure they stay at that healthy 101.5°.

For indoor pets, closing the curtains in the rooms where they spend the warmest hours of the day will keep the temperature down, and keeping the area well ventilated will help keep it from getting too hot and stuffy throughout the day. A cool tile floor, is the perfect places for your pet to stretch out for a cool nap in the afternoon.

If your pet spends the day outdoors, make sure he or she has access to plenty of shade. Shaving your cats or dogs will obviously help them stay cool through these warm summer months, but regular brushing to avoid matted fur which traps heat is also a great idea.

And, whether your pet spends their day indoors or out, always make sure they have plenty of drinking water available. Dropping a few ice cubes into their water bowls on especially hot days will keep it cool even longer.

It is important to know the signs of heatstroke so you can treat it as quickly as possible if ever the occasion arises.

• Agitation/Distress • Glazed Eyes • Difficulty Breathing
• Heavy Panting • Drooling • Bloody Diarrhea
• Vomiting • Staggering • Increased Respiration
• Skin Hot to the Touch • Weakness • Increased Heart Rate

If your pet is experiencing any of these symptoms, the best thing you can do is act fast! If symptoms are mild, take your pet to a cool indoor environment with a fan. If symptoms are more severe, poor water over your pets fur and surround them with ice packs while you call the vet.

Do not immerse a cat in cold water, and never give water to an unconscious animal.