Cats and dogs respond to heat differently to the way us humans do. Our bodies are full of sweat glands that help us regulate our temperature. The moment our bodies get too hot, the sweat glands immediately kick in to cool us back down. Our furry friends have only a very few of those sweat glands in their feet and around their noses, making it much harder for them to cool themselves down on their own. Most animals must rely on panting and external cooling to reduce their body temperature. As a pet owner it is very important to make sure your pet has access to different methods of external cooling.
How to spot a heat stressed animal
The general signs on heat stress in your pet are:
● Increased respiration rate
● Loss of appetite
● Increased salivation
In serious cases heat stroke can develop and this can lead to loss of consciousness and even organ failure, which is life threatening. So, if your animal appears unwell then bring them into the clinic immediately for emergency treatment.
Treating a heat stressed animal
If your pet is showing signs of heat stress, move them into the shade immediately and offer them plenty of cool, clean water. Make sure they drink small amounts at a time to prevent them from feeling ill. You should also spray them with cool water, particularly around their legs and feet and put a fan near them to increase the air movement around them.
Dogs and cats can be placed in a shallow blow-up style pool as a means of cooling down.
If the animal doesn’t show any signs of improvement, contact the clinic on (03) 9467 2255.
Preventing heat stress
Luckily, heat stress can be easily prevented. Over the warmer months, keep a close eye on the temperature forecast so you can plan ahead.
On hot days, make sure your pet has access to a cool, well-ventilated and shaded environment that has plenty of clean, fresh drinking water.
Avoid exercising them in hot weather and keep them away for hot sand and concrete areas where heat is reflected. If the surface is too hot for your feet, then it’s too hot for your pet’s feet. They can burn too!