Heat Stroke in Dogs & Cats: Prevent Your Pet from Overheating

Heatstroke Should Not Be A Part of Your Pet's Summer

Many people are not aware all animals are susceptible to heatstroke.  For this reason, it is imperative to recognize the signs so owners can take active steps for prevention. The heat of a day spent in the hot Savannah sun can lead to hyperthermia, also known as heatstroke. The normal body temperature for cats and dogs falls within the range of 100.0 to 102.0 degrees Fahrenheit. If it reaches 103 degrees or more, it's cause for concern and should warrant a call to Crossroad Animal Hospital, no matter what the cause.

Exposure to excessive amounts of summer sunlight can raise the temperature to an alarming 106 degrees or more. Should it reach anywhere between 107 and 109 degrees, organ systems can shut down, and death can be imminent, so a trip to the veterinarian is necessary.

Recognizing Heatstroke

The biggest sign that your pet may be in the midst of a heatstroke is excessive panting. While some dogs pant a lot even in normal circumstances, these other behaviors should raise a red flag in both cats and dogs.

  • Drooling, Salivating
  • Very red or pale gums
  • Diarrhea and/or vomiting
  • Staggering or loss of coordination
  • Collapse
  • Breathing distress
  • Weakness & Lethargy
  • Seizures
  • Muscle Tremors
  • Muscle Tremors
  • Agitation, Restlessness (cats may pace)

What To Do if Your Dog or Cat Suffers a Heatstroke

If you suspect your pet is having a heatstroke, we recommend immediate veterinary care.  Initial emergency treatment at home should aim to normalize body temperature.  You should lower their body temperature by first removing them from the hot environment immediately. Apply or spray lukewarm or cool water onto their fur and skin. Do not use ice-cold water or ice as this may worsen the problem.  Then call us, even if they are improving.  Veterinarians are trained to assess the severity of the heatstroke and then provide emergency medical treatment as required. They will check your pet’s body temperature and vital signs and then instigate emergency treatment. Please call us at Crossroad Animal Hospital in Savannah at 912-927-4343 so we can let our veterinarian know you're on your way. This is a matter of life and death. We extend these pet tips on heatstroke so you and your pet can enjoy an incident-free summer. Please call us with any questions you may have about heatstroke or veterinary care.


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