Signs of Heat Stroke
Heat stroke is an emergency that requires immediate owner intervention and medical treatment. It occurs when an animal’s body temperature rises outside of a safe range. Here are some signs your pet may be suffering from heat stroke:
- Panting heavily
- Dark red gums
- Dry mucus membranes (specifically the gums)
- Lying down and unwilling (or unable) to get up
- Collapse and/or loss of consciousness
- Increased rectal temperature
- Diziness or disorientation
During one of our episodes aired in May, Fiona Picton from Royal Canin Malta was invited to the studio to provide our viewers with tips on how to help our pets avoid heat strokes.
Malta’s hottest months can see daytime temperatures usually above 30ºC and quite often also above 35ºC . If you think it’s hot outside, it’s even hotter for your pet. Avoid leaving your pets in a parked car in the outdoors, even if it is for a short while. If your pets are outside, provide shade for them and avoid leaving them in the baking sun for hours on end. In addition, apply sunscreen to your pet’s skin where they have a thin coat.
Do not overexert your animal in extreme heat. Even if you can handle going on a long walk in Malta’s summertime, your dog or horse will react differently. Try early-morning exercise routines. Avoid asphalt, too, as it can burn their paws / hooves.
Shaving your dog or cat’s fur for the summer isn’t necessarily going to help keep them cooler and should be avoided, unless the fur is knotted. A thick coat helps keep furry domestic animals warm during the winter months but during the summer fur offers internal insulation by trapping the heat in the fur, away from the skin. A breeze through the fur also increases air flow across the skin to aid in heat release. Brushing your dogs or cats fur regularly will remove excess hair and keep your pets fur clean and cool.
Keep fresh, cool water available for your pets at all times.
Certain medical conditions put dogs and cats at greater risk of heat stroke. Do not expose dogs and cats with the following conditions to prolonged heat:
• Heart disease
• Impaired breathing
• Short-nosed cat breeds such as Persians and Himalayans
• Short-nosed dog breeds such as Pugs and Bulldogs
- Remove your pet from the hot area
- Call your veterinarian immediately
- Lower your pet’s temperature by wetting him thoroughly with room temperature water, then increase air movement around him with a fan. Dabbing cold towels in the ears of mammals can help them escape heat stress more quickly, too. Be sure to remove restricting articles like bandanas, saddles or collars. When the rectal temperature drops to 39.7°C, stop all cooling efforts.