Now with summer almost in full swing, many pets are more susceptible to overheating and heatstroke, especially smaller pets such as rabbits, guinea pigs, and chinchillas, as well as animals that are overweight or have a heavy coat. Older animals and those that dont get much exercise are also at risk if they are not drinking plenty of water throughout the day.
Heatstroke commonly occurs at temperatures of 82ҰF or above, while high humidity also has a tendency to increase overheating. Lack of ventilation, not enough shade, overcrowding, and other types of stress are also risk factors for pets.
Warning signs of heatstroke include:
Bright red tongue
Slobbering, or thick, sticky, saliva
Reluctance to move
If you are concerned that your pet might be suffering a heatstroke, the first thing to do is to remove it from the hot area immediately and contact your veterinarian. You can lower its temperature by wetting its ears, feet, and fur with cool water, although you donגt want to use cold water because cooling must take place gradually. Cooling too quickly may cause the body temperature to become too low, which can cause other life-threatening conditions.
During pet transport to the vet, place your pet on a wet towel to keep it cooling for the duration of the drive, and turn on the air conditioner or drive with the windows rolled down. Once at the vets office, your petҒs body temperature will be lowered to a safe range and it will be given fluids, and, if necessary, oxygen.
Oftentimes, pets that suffer moderate heatstroke recover without complicating health problems. Animals that suffer severe heatstroke might need ongoing care such as a specially prescribed diet if organ damage has occurred. It is also important to note that once an animal suffers from heatstroke, its risk for suffering future incidences increases.
So play it safe and make sure your pets are getting plenty of water, shade, and ventilation this summer and it will be a fun season for the entire furry family.