Keys to Avoiding Heat Stress for Your Pets
How to avoid heat stress when it gets hot outside
During the winter months, it is a lot easier to control the temperature in your home with the heating system, however when it starts to heat up outside it’s not so easy to maintain a comfortable temperature for you or your pets. There are however ways that you can minimize the chance of your pet suffering from heat stress just by being aware of it and taking precautions.
There are specific breeds that are more prone to heat stress including those with shorter snouts and longer, thicker coats; however other dogs can be affected by it too. This is more common when there is a heat wave. Unlike us, animals are unable to cool themselves by removing clothing so it’s important to ensure you have a way to keep your pet as cool as possible to avoid heatstroke.
Ways to avoid heat stress
Although you can’t turn down the dial to make the sun any cooler, your dog or cat is also unable to regulate their own temperature by sweating as we can. The way they tend to cool themselves is by panting, which is not entirely effective in extreme heat. This is why your pet relies on you to make their environment safe and comfortable.
Methods to minimize the risk include:
- Making sure there is a shaded area that pets can use should they play outside.
- Always having water both in and out of your home in a spot that is shaded. If you are leaving them outside and venturing out yourself it’s a good idea to have more than one bowl so they don’t run out in your absence.
- In extremely hot weather you should avoid taking them out for walks and instead wait until it cools in the early morning or evening time.
- Never ever leave pets in an unattended vehicle as it can have a microwave effect which is extremely dangerous. You know how hot it is when you return to your vehicle in the heat. Imagine not being able to cool yourself down with air conditioning and sweating.
What are the signs of heat stress?
- Your pets can’t verbalize when they are getting too hot but there are signs to look out for including:
- Struggling for breath and overly panting
- Salivating more than usual
- Having gums that are extremely pale or red
- Sickness and loose stools
- Unconsciousness and collapsing
What you should do if you suspect heat stress
If you think that your pet may have heat stress then the first thing you should do is take your dog or cat out of the heat to give them the opportunity to cool down. You can help to cool them down faster by spraying them with cold water or covering them with a damp towel. If your dog or cat will tolerate it, turn on the air conditioning or a fan and get them medical treatment right away. It’s better to seek advice and not need it than ignore the symptoms and see your pet get worse throughout the day.