Pets are subject to many of the same health concerns as humans. Responsible pet owners should have at least a basic, working knowledge of pet first aid and how to avoid heatstroke.
Hyperthermia, or heat stroke, is classified as the condition when the body reaches an internal temperature that is dangerously high. For dogs, this temperature is 105 and above. It can be extremely dangerous and even lethal.
Unfortunately, the summer season brings not only warm and sunny days but also a high volume of heatstroke accidents in pets. Many pet owners are unaware of how easily such incidents can occur and how to avoid them.
On hot days, there are a few things you can do to avoid your pet developing hyperthermia.
- Do not leave your pet in a vehicle, especially in direct sunlight. Even if it does not feel warm outside, the inside of a car can reach much higher temperatures.
- Avoid exercise on hot days.
- Provide shade and access to plenty of water when outdoors.
In an ideal world, your pet will not suffer from heatstroke. However, if it does happen, you should be prepared to help. The following first aid steps should be taken if you suspect your pet is suffering from hyperthermia.
- Get your pet to a cooler area with adequate airflow. If they were out in the sun, move them under shade or indoors. Avoid overdoing it. Placing your pet in front of an air conditioning unit, for example, can have unintended consequences.
- Provide water. Do not attempt to force your pet to drink, but offer it in case they are able to drink.
- Get them wet. Gently wet your pet’s belly, chest, paws, ears, and other warm areas. Consistent airflow onto the dampened areas will aid in cooling your pet down faster.
- Take them to an emergency vet. Even if you think you have the situation under control, hyperthermia is extremely dangerous.
Carefully monitor your pet on hot days and follow the first aid methods listed above if they become overheated. However, a veterinarian is the most qualified person to diagnose and treat heatstroke in pets. A vet can examine your pet, provide treatment or additional first aid, and give you additional care instructions to ensure a speedy recovery.