How to Prevent Your Dog From Suffering Heat Stroke
With Manila’s heat index rising to 40.4 degrees Celsius this week, everyone is trying their best to avoid the scorching sun and the humid air at all costs. While many people have been retreating to the comforts of air-conditioned homes and offices, their furry counterparts might not be getting the attention they need in this climate. Dogs, in particular, are more prone to heat stroke because they eliminate heat by panting and when that doesn’t work, it may cause a spike in their body temperature.
Here’s how to prevent, diagnose, and treat heat strokes in pets:
How to Prevent Heat Stroke in Pets
1. Keep your pets indoors.
If this isn’t possible, make sure their shelter has ample shade and they have direct access to water at all times.
2. Limit playtime.
Some pets have regular walks or time to run outside. On a hot day, however, it’s best to take them out during the early morning when temperatures are lower.
3. Cool them down every once in a while.
Give your pets regular baths. If your home permits it, give your pets an assigned area they can easily access when they need to cool down, such as a tub or a pool.
4. Keep refilling their water bowls.
Cold water is permissible.
5. Never leave them in your car.
Cracking the window open isn’t enough.
Which pets are more prone to heat stroke?
There are certain breeds of dogs and cats that are more susceptible to heat stroke than others, according to an infographic provided by the Murdoch University. Dogs and cats with short snouts or shortened faces like Persians, Pugs, and Bulldogs are a prime example. Owners must also keep a close eye on elderly or sickly pets, pets with heart problems, and pets that are overweight. Dogs with thick coats or those used colder climates may also fall ill.
The Signs of Heat Stroke
You can easily spot heat stroke in your pet when you know the symptoms. If your pet is lethargic, keeps its mouth open to breathe, and pants non-stop, then something could already be wrong. Other more evident signs include vomiting, salivating, seizures, red gums, and a racing heartbeat. You can also try to feel if its skin is warmer than usual. If you have a rectal thermometer, you can monitor your pet’s body temperature: 37.8 to 39.2 degrees (dogs); 37.8 to 39.3 degrees (cats); 38.5 to 40 degrees (rabbits); and 37.5 to 39.5 (guinea pigs).
How To Treat a Pet Experiencing Heat Stroke
Once you’ve identified that your pet is experiencing heat stroke, the American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA) recommends that you take preliminary measures before calling your veterinarian. Move the pet to a cooler location or place ir in front of a fan. Wrap or wipe it down with towels that you’ve soaked in lukewarm water. Try not to speed the cooling process as this might do more harm than good. After you’ve taken initial action, call your vet for further instructions.