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How to Keep Pets Safe in the Summer Heat | Part 1

It’s officially summer which means temperatures are on the rise. While we all look forward to longer, sunnier days and backyard BBQs, it’s important to remember to keep a special eye out for our furry friends during this particular time of year.


Since we already know that understanding pain in our pets can be tricky, as pet owners, it’s our responsibility to know how to keep pets safe in the summer heat.



Understanding Heat Stroke in Pets

One of the best seasons of the year to enjoy with our pets is summertime. But, as the heat sets in, we must be mindful of overheating in our canine companions. Overheating is more than simply being too hot; it can actually become fatal in dogs.


This life-threatening emergency occurs more often in the summer months and is caused by prolonged exposure to hot or humid environments.


What Is Heat Stroke?

Heat stroke is known as a marked elevation in body temperature after prolonged exposure to humid or hot temperatures or strenuous exercise.


Dogs quickly become victims of this life-threatening medical emergency when exercising in hot and humid conditions, left outside in hot and humid weather without shade, and left alone in a hot car.



High-Risk Pets for Heat Stroke

While any pet, especially dogs, can fall subject to heat stroke, some are at exceptionally high risk during the summer months.


Short-Muzzle Dog Breeds

The primary method of dissipating heat and cooling in dogs is through panting, as they only have sweat glands on their paws. As a result, dogs that are known to be less effective with panting have a more challenging time cooling themselves down. These include Brachycephalic breeds or short-muzzle breeds, including:


  • Boxers

  • Boston Terriers

  • Bulldogs

  • Pugs

  • Pekingese

  • Shih Tzu



Obese and Elderly Dogs

As with most medical conditions, special consideration should be taken in dogs that are either obese, elderly, or both.


Thick or Dark-Colored Coated Dogs

Lastly, dogs with thick or dark-colored coats will also be at higher risk for heat stroke as their temperatures will rise more rapidly than their thin or light-colored coated counterparts.


Signs of Heat Stroke in Your Pet

Even if your dog does not fall into the high-risk category for heat stroke, it’s crucial to be able to recognize the signs of heat stroke in your pet.


Early Signs of Heat Stroke

Early signs of your dog overheating may include:

  • Heavy drooling

  • Heavy panting

What to Do if You See Early Signs of Heat Stroke in Your Pet

If you begin recognizing these signs in your dog, immediately give them access to water and bring them into a cool, air-conditioned environment. To help expedite the cooling process, you can place them in front of a fan and wet them with cool water. Make sure to wet your dog down to the skin for this to work, especially in double-coated breeds (such as Great Pyrenees, Pomeranians, Siberian Huskies, etc.).



Advanced Stages of Heat Stroke

If you’ve done your best to cool your pet and they are continuing to excessively drool and pant, it’s time to keep an eye out for more advanced stages of heat stroke in your dog, which may look like:

  • Collapsing

  • Seizures

  • Confusion

  • Weakness

  • Vomiting

  • Bloody diarrhea

  • Difficulty breathing

What to Do if You See Advanced Stages of Heat Stroke in Your Pet

Take your pet to a veterinary hospital immediately if exhibiting any of the advanced stages of heat stroke. Remember that heat stroke is a life-threatening medical emergency.



Aloha Veterinary Acupuncture Wants to Help Keep Your Pets Safe This Summer

Here at Aloha Veterinary Acupuncture, we love summer just as much as the next dog lover. That’s why we’re committed to helping you keep your pets safe through the warmer weather. Stay tuned for Part 2 and more tips to keep your pets safe this summer.


Of course, if you’re interested in veterinary acupuncture but worried about potentially exposing your pet to heat stroke, we’re here for you, too! After all, we come to you!


Take a look at the benefits of veterinary acupuncture, and feel free to contact us with any additional questions you might have. You can also schedule a video consultation with Dr. Kho, who can discuss your pet and address any questions or concerns you may have about veterinary acupuncture.


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