Heatstroke and Your Pet
It’s a warm summer day and you are going to the grocery store to pick up a loaf of bread. In the parking lot, you pass a car with a poodle panting inside. What should you do? How about running quickly into the store and paging the dog’s owner! The panting poodle may be minutes from death – a victim of heatstroke. You need to get the poodle out of the car and reduce its body temperature ASAP.
Every year, thousands of pets die needlessly from overexposure to heat. It’s usually because people leave their pets in cars while they shop or run a quick errand. It doesn’t have to be extremely hot outdoors for a pet to suffer heatstroke inside a vehicle. Leaving a pet inside a closed automobile for just 10 to 15 minutes is risky almost any day of the summer. Even 5 minutes inside a hot car is enough to cause exhaustive heatstroke in cats and small dogs. Hamsters, guinea pigs, and birds have even less of a chance of survival. And leaving the windows open “just a crack” is NOT enough to prevent heatstroke and possible death.
Heatstroke can be prevented quite easily if you follow one Petland rule: Leave your pet at home when running errands in the summer months. If it is not possible to leave your pet at home, then take these precautions to combat heatstroke during short trips:
Run errands during cooler times of the day (dawn or dusk), bring a friend to stay in the car with your pet, or keep the A/C running
Leave car windows down, and protect with pet-secure window screens that allow maximum air flow
Carry a litre of fresh, cool water from home along with a bowl from which your pet may drink
Check on your pet’s health every few minutes
Heatstroke in a pet is easy to diagnose. Some first signs are quite visible - excessive panting, salivation, and a racing pulse. The pet also will have a high body temperature and may even vomit. In late stages of heatstroke, a pet lapses into a coma. At this point, many pets suffer brain damage and die.
If your pet experiences some of the warning signs of heatstroke, Petland advises trying to lower your pet’s body temperature on the way to the veterinarian. Submerging or pouring cold water over your pet’s body can help. Ice packs can be used, if available. Place them around the groin area and under the armpits. You can also rinse your pet’s mouth with cool water, offering only small amounts to drink.
Petland is asking pet owners to educate as many people as you can of the possible dangers of heatstroke in pets. Act immediately if you encounter a potentially dangerous pet-heatstroke situation.
Every summer, many caring pet owners return to their cars to find a best friend needlessly lost to heatstroke. Let’s do our best to prevent any losses this summer!
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