By Dr. Phil Zeltzman
Heat stroke occurs when your pet’s internal temperature becomes dangerously high, generally about 106 degrees Fahrenheit. It can occur if the pet has been locked in a hot car, or while over-exercising in a hot and/or humid environment. Heat stroke can produce a cascade of serious effects resulting in brain damage, organ failure, or even death.
CAN I PREVENT HEAT STROKE IN MY PET?
Absolutely, you can take several simple, common-sense steps to prevent heat stroke. On hot, humid days, keep pets indoors, except to eliminate. If they must be outside, provide plenty of shade and fresh water. Make sure that your pet can’t spill the water source, or use several bowls in different places. Add ice cubes to the water bowl to keep the water cooler longer. Let your pet play in a cool water “bath” or kiddie pool. Plan ahead and make sure that shade will still be available as the sun moves.
Notice any heavy panting, loss of energy, weakness, or stumbling [originally sentence said “or any of the signs listed above,” but no other signs were listed above]. If your pet seems to be suffering from the heat, stop in a shaded area and give it some fresh water. If the pet’s condition doesn’t improve quickly, take it to the vet right away.
Remember, you are your dog’s best friend! It is your responsibility to take care of the pet that you welcomed into your family. Your dog is depending on you to help keep it safe, so make sure that you take active measures to prevent heat stroke; recognize its symptoms; and understand how to best treat your dog if it should occur.