Our vets near Winston-Salem at Forsyth Veterinary Hospital want you to keep your pets safe from heatstroke, also called hyperthermia, by taking certain precautions and understanding the symptoms.
Heatstroke occurs when a pet’s body temperature rises above normal due to external factors, creating a situation in which the pet’s internal cooling system cannot keep up with the heat. Dogs primarily cool themselves by panting and expanding certain blood vessels in the face. They also contain a few sweat glands in their foot pads. Cats also have sweat glands in their paws, but they primarily cool themselves by finding a cool spot and lying down. They also lick themselves. This makes the fur wet, and when air passes over their fur, it helps dissipate heat. When a cat starts panting, they are extremely hot and close to overheating. Since a pet’s internal cooling system is not as effective as a human’s, pet owners should take precautions when playing or exercising their pets on hot summer days in order to avoid heatstroke.
Signs and Symptoms
When you are walking your dog or playing or exercising your pet on a hot day, you should remain vigilant in watching for the signs and symptoms of heatstroke.
- Convulsing or Having Seizures
- Diarrhea with Blood
- Excessive Panting
- Loss of Coordination or Staggering
- Sluggishness or Lethargy
- Your Pet’s Gums and Tongue Turn Bright Red
Preventing Heatstroke in Pets
Our veterinarian near Winston-Salem wants to help you prevent heatstrokes in your pets by providing you with tips. The first tip is to always watch for the signs and symptoms of heatstroke.
- On hot days, always make sure your pet has plenty of clean, cool water. You can even help keep the water cool by adding a couple ice cubes.
- If you plan to walk or exercise your pet, it is best to do so early in the morning and in the evening after the temperatures start to cool.
- If you have to leave your pet home alone all day, make sure you have a room that is air conditioned or well-ventilated, and keep the curtains closed in that room. Keeping the curtains closed helps prevent the sun from increasing the indoor temperature.
- Keep your pet’s hair clean and neatly trimmed with regular grooming. Matts, dirt, and debris can reduce your pet’s ability to cool himself.
When You Should Bring Your Pet to Our Animal Hospital for Heatstroke Treatment
You should bring your pet to our animal hospital for heatstroke treatment any time your pet’s body temperature is above normal. A temperature of 104 or higher for dogs is considered heatstroke. A cat with a temperature above 105 is considered to have heatstroke.
If you suspect your pet has heatstroke, move him to a cool area or into the shade and administer cool, not cold water. This will help to start lowering your pet’s internal temperature. You should also apply cool wet towels or give your pet a cool bath to help further reduce your pet’s temperature. Once your pet is stable, you need to immediately transport him or her to our veterinary hospital.
Contact Our Local Animal Hospital in Winston-Salem for More Information Today!
To learn more about the signs and symptoms of heatstroke or to schedule an appointment with our veterinarian near Winston-Salem, contact us at 336-765-1225.