There’s no question that our summers here in the desert are “extreme.” While dealing with the heat can be difficult for humans, our four-legged friends have even more difficulty cooling down. A dog regulates his or her body temperature primarily by panting — they don’t have sweat glands covering their bodies, like we do, and their body temperatures are naturally higher than ours. It’s important to keep your pets cool and comfortable, and above all, to watch for the signs of overheating and possible heatstroke.
Here are 12 symptoms that may indicate your pet is overheating. If your animal is displaying any of these symptoms, immediately get them into a cool place and provide them with fresh, clean water. If you pet displays any extreme symptoms, such as vomiting, seizures or unconsciousness, contact your veterinary professional immediately.
– Heavy panting or rapid breathing
– Elevated body temperature
– Excessive thirst
– Weakness, collapse
– Glazed eyes
– Increased pulse and heartbeat
– Vomiting, bloody diarrhea
– Bright or dark red tongue, gums
– Excessive drooling
– Staggering, stumbling
Fortunately, it’s easy to prevent overheating in your pet by being watchful and taking a few simple precautions.
We all know that leaving pets in a hot car is unacceptable and can be extremely dangerous – even deadly. But your pet can also get overheated in humid climates, and if they are dehydrated or overexerted. Make sure your pets have plenty of fresh drinking water and a cool place to escape in the summer months. You should also be sure to exercise your pet during the coolest hours of the day – early in the morning and after sunset. Your pet will have less chance of overheating and less chance of burning their sensitive paws on hot pavement.
According to the website Healthy Pets:
“Some pets are at higher risk for heat-related illness than others, including brachycephalic breeds (dogs and cats with flat faces and short noses), older pets, puppies and kittens, animals that are ill or have a chronic health condition, pets not used to warm weather, and any pet left outside in hot weather.”
Cats are better at dealing with hotter temps than dogs, but are still not well equipped to deal with summer heat in the desert. Make sure your cats have plenty of cool places to rest, clean water and try to make sure they’re not stuck outside during the hottest part of the day.
With a few simple precautionary measures, your furry friend can have a safe, happy and cool summer.