Signs of Heat Stroke in Pets

It is not just a long, hot summer for humans–pets are suffering too.  Like humans, pets are at risk from exposure to excessive heat. Here are signs to watch for in your pets who may be experiencing heat stroke. Next are solutions to prevent overheating in pets.

cute dog resting on sand near fence


Signs of heat stroke in dogs include excessive panting, unusual breathing noise, lethargy or change in behavior, stumbling, and a blue/grey tinge to the gums or tongue. Owners should contact their vet immediately if they spot any of these signs.

If your dog becomes overheated move him into the shade or a cool space. Offer water, although only in small amounts. Lie them in cool water (but not cold water!) and/or pour cool water over them. A soaked, cool towel could be placed over the dog’s side–replace when it becomes warm.

german shepherd with ball swimming in pool

Preventing overheating in Dogs

Caretakers of dogs need to do everything possible to prevent overheating during hot days. Experts say to skip walks and travel, keep dogs indoors out of the heat and leave water available at all times. If available, take your dog to a place with water like a stream or lake to let him wade around to cool down.  Owners could also consider making frozen treats to encourage their pets to keep hydrated. Cooling pads are also available on the internet for affordable prices.

If you must exercise your dog,  keep it to gentle, slow walks on the lead. Walks should be restricted to the very early morning or late evening when temperatures are cooler.  And when in doubt, don’t go out!

brown tabby cat scratching head

Preventing overheating in Cats

Many cats love very warm and even hot temperatures so they may not react to the summer heat the way dogs do.  Even so, caregivers should put down a cool damp towel in case your cat chooses to lie on it.  Cooling pads may also be welcomed by some cats.  If your cat is spending a lot of time outdoors in the summer use pet-safe sun cream on ears and other exposed areas if necessary.

close up shot of a guinea pig

Preventing overheating in other small pets

Caretakers should ensure rabbits and guinea pigs have constant access to shade and fresh drinking water at all times.  Remember that as the sun moves during the day so too does the shade. Experts recommend that pet owners can also freeze a semi-full plastic bottle of water and wrap it in a towel so their pets can lie against it.