How To Recognize Heatstroke in Pets

Yaaay! Summer has arrived! And with summer comes more outside time with friends and family, BBQ’s, biking, hiking, and other outdoor activities with our pets.
Summer also brings higher temperatures and as pet owners, we need to ensure we can recognize the symptoms of heatstroke and heat exhaustion in pets.

Heatstroke is more common during the warmer summer months when pets are left outdoors without proper access to shade, or water, or left in an area (or closed vehicle) without proper ventilation. Heatstroke however, can develop at any time of year with pets that have respiratory or weight concerns.

Heatstroke can be extremely dangerous to our pets. As their temperature rises, so does the potential of harm. Shock, dehydration, kidney and liver damage, and even death are all possible when our pets are exposed to excessive summer heat without places to stay cool and shaded and with no access to water.

Here are some signs to watch for:

  • respiratory distress and non-stop panting
  • sudden onset of vomiting and/or diarrhea
  • bright red, blue, or purple gums

If you detect any of these indicators of heat exhaustion in your pet, start the cooling process and call your veterinarian as soon as possible. Remove your pet from the harmful area, and try to cool them with a fan. Keep them shaded and have access to water.

Be cautious! dumping them into a cool or ice water bath can cause a drop in temperature that is too low!

Remember to have access to shade and water, avoid exercise and extreme activities in the hottest part of the day and never leave your pet in an unattended vehicle.

Stay safe and cool and have a great summer!

From the Valley Veterinary Services Team