Keeping Pets Safe in a Heat Wave



The massive heat wave that swept the U.S. from the East Coast to the Midwest last weekend may be over, but the danger hasn’t passed.


As thermometers remain high, pets are at risk for heat exhaustion if their internal temperature rises above normal. If it continues to climb, pets are in danger of experiencing heat stroke, which can lead to organ failure and death.


Symptoms of heat stroke include:

• glazed eyes

• accelerated heart rate

• heavy panting

• excessive drooling

• red/purple gums or tongue

• vomiting

• lack of coordination

• seizures

• unconsciousness


The best way to prevent pets from overheating in the summer is by limiting their exposure time. Minimize outdoor exercise and restrict walks to early mornings or late evenings when temperatures are cooler. Pets should be kept inside as much as possible; when outside, make sure to supply plenty of water and shade.


If you suspect your pet is suffering from heat exhaustion or heat stroke, move the animal into an area with shade or air conditioning. Apply wet towels or ice packs to their head, neck and chest to help cool them down, and offer small amounts of tepid water. Contact your veterinarian or bring your pet to the nearest emergency clinic immediately. 


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