Lately, we have recorded some soaring summer temperatures throughout Perth, and sometimes we forget how the heat can affect our furry friends. Are you aware that animals can suffer from heat stroke just like humans? As we continue to record extremely hot temperatures, your pet is at greater risk than usual so it is important to monitor their surroundings to limit their exposure to the heat.
Heat stroke (commonly known as heat stress) occurs when an animal can’t expel enough body heat as fast as they are building it up. It can have some serious consequences such as your pet suffering from brain damage, multiple organ failure and ultimately death.
What to look out for
There a range of different symptoms and signs that suggest your pet may be suffering from heatstroke. Older pets are even more susceptible to the heat, so keep a special eye on them throughout the summer months. Make sure you keep an eye out for:
- A body temperature above 40 degrees or higher
- Elevated heart rate
- Heavy panting or drooling
- Blank stare on their face
- Agitated or anxious behaviour
- Gums and tongue become sticky and dark red in colour
- Nausea and vomiting
- Staggering movement
- Seizure or coma
How to prevent heat stroke
There are a number of ways that your can protect your pet from the heat, helping to stop them falling ill.
If your pet is mainly an outdoors pet, ensure there is plenty of shade available for your animal to relax in. Make sure there are a few bowls of water left out, kept out of direct sunlight and routinely filled with ice and cool water to help keep your pet hydrated.
Should you have a smaller animal that is typically housed in a cage or hutch such as a rabbit, bird or guinea pig, make sure you are extra vigilant when it comes to monitoring them. Make sure their water containers are always full, and their enclosure is well ventilated, cool and shady.
Some pets might not enjoy it, but it is a wise idea to hose or spray you pet with water regularly on hot days to give them some kind of relief from the heat.
When exercising your pet, make sure you take them out early in the mornings or very late in the afternoon to ensure they are not out in the hottest part of the day. If the temperature is above 30 degrees, you should intend to keep your pet indoors.
Make sure you never ever leave your pet in a car for any amount of time! Just 10 minutes in an enclosed car can cause a fatality.
If you’re after as fun way to keep your pet cool, consider making a huge ice block by freezing some of your pet’s toys in water in the largest tub that fits in your freezer. Remove by running the tub under hot water. Not only will your pets love these, but it will also help to keep them cool on those extra hot days.
How to help your pet if they’re suffering from heat stroke
If you have a feeling your pet might be suffering from heat stroke it is important to quickly act to lower their body temperature to prevent further damage to their body and internal organs.
Start by moving your pet to a cooler location such as your bathroom or laundry inside your home before spraying room temperature water on your pet or covering them with damp towels. If possible, have your pet stand or sit in a bathtub, shower or container to help cool them down. When dealing with dogs cats, ferrets, poultry and caged birds, focus on their feet as this I where they expel the most heat.
It is important your pet is hydrated. Try to coax them into drinking more water but be sure not to give them ice cold water as this dramatic temperature change can be added shock to their systems.
If you’re unable to aid your pet with these techniques, promptly contact your local vet.