It’s almost summer now! And as temperatures soar, a common problem that all pet owners should be aware of is heat stroke (also known as heat stress). With the heat of the summer months, the number of cats and dogs that visit the vet increases due to this problem. Unfortunately, many pet owners don’t even realize that their cats and dogs can have problems if they are exposed to high temperatures too long. Do you want to know what the symptoms are and how to help with heat stroke? Continue reading.

What is heat stroke?

Heat stroke is a state of hyperthermia (core body temperature raised above the normal range) that causes heat injury to the tissues. Heat stroke occurs due to an increase in body temperature above 40.5 degrees Celsius.

What are the main factors that cause heat stroke?

Heat stroke can endanger your pet’s life, causing damage to internal organs, or even being fatal. Here is a list of factors that favor the appearance of heat stroke:

  • A warm or humid environment and with inadequate ventilation (for example, leaving your pet in the car in the middle of summer is very dangerous, since it can reach high temperatures inside).
  • Being in a place without shade for a long time.
  • Lack of hydration.
  • Excessive exercise

What are the symptoms of heat stroke in animals?

These are the main symptoms that your pet can show in case of heat stroke. They include:

  • Panting that increases as the heat stroke progresses.
  • Begins to drool or salivate more than normal.
  • Agitation, restlessness.
  • Very red or pale gums.
  • Bright red tongue.
  • Incrise of cardiac frecuency.
  • Breathing difficulty.
  • Diarrhea with vomiting (possibly with blood).
  • Signs of mental confusion, delirium.
  • Dizziness
  • Lethargy, weakness.
  • Muscle tremors.
  • Seizures
  • Little or no urine output.
  • Fainting or coma.

How to prevent heat stroke in your pet?

  • You can help prevent heat stroke by making sure your pets are kept in proper environmental conditions and by knowing the symptoms so that action can be taken quickly. For this, we give you some tips that can help you avoid this unpleasant situation:
  • You should try to have a fresh and well ventilated space for your pet at home. Good ventilation is critical because many animals lose heat when panting (evaporative cooling) that depends on good air flow. Outdoor pets should also always have access to shade.
  • All pets should have access to plenty of clean, fresh water at all times.
    Never leave your pet in a car as temperatures rise extremely fast, even on moderate days, and can kill pets quickly.
  • Avoid exercising animals in the warmer hours.
  • Avoid hot asphalt or any other area where heat is reflected and there is no access to shade.

What to do if your pet shows symptoms of heat stroke?

We recommend that you have a minimum of first aid knowledge of your pet in an emergency. If you think you are suffering from heat stroke, the main objective will be to try to normalize your body temperature:

  • Remove your pet from the hot environment immediately.
  • Apply or spray warm or somewhat cold water on the fur and skin of the animal. Then apply a fan or fan to maximize heat loss.
  • Wetting the area around your pet can also help.
  • Do not use ice water or ice, as this can make the problem worse.
    Then, take your pet to the nearest vet right away.
  • Heat stroke is an emergency: always consult a vet. Even if your pet seems to be recovering or if you suspect it might have heat stroke, it should always be checked by a vet.

Treatment for heat stroke in pets

Veterinarians are prepared to assess the severity of heat stroke and then provide emergency medical treatment as necessary. They will usually check your pet’s body temperature and vital signs, and then instigate an emergency treatment that may include:

  • Put your pet on a drip (intravenous fluids).
  • Cooling treatments, for example, cooling enemas.
  • Supplemental oxygen.
  • Medication as needed.
  • Blood tests to check the function of the organs.
  • Continuous monitoring and treatment as necessary.

Other factors that can favor heat stroke in animals

All animals are susceptible to heat stroke, so owners should be sure to take active measures to prevent it. However, there are factors in them that can make them more predisposed to suffer from them:

  • Obesity.
  • Brachiocephalic anatomy (flat-faced dog breeds) such as Pugs, English bulldogs, French bulldogs,
  • Persian and Himalayan cats, among others.
  • Respiratory difficulties or respiratory diseases, such as laryngeal paralysis or collapse of the trachea.
  • Heart problems or cardiovascular disease.
  • Neurological disease.
  • Age extremes (being too young or too old)
  • Coat of thick or long hair.
  • Excessive exercise
  • Dehydration

Have you ever seen your dog or cat with any of the symptoms described in this article? Is your home prepared so that your pet can withstand the arrival of heat? We hope you have taken note of this article and pay attention to the conditions of your dog or cat at home this summer. By offering enough water and shade, and avoiding the hottest hours for walks or exercise, everyone will enjoy vacations and good weather much more.