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Posted on 08-13-2013

Overheating in Pets: Awareness and Prevention

Keep Your Pet Cool!

There are few incidents more alarming to pet owners than when their beloved animal suddenly falls ill during a fun-filled vacation trip or a walk in the neighborhood park. If your pet collapses, becomes unsteady on his feet, or starts drooling, vomiting or panting uncontrollably, he may have heat stroke, a common killer of dogs and cats during the summer months. But what causes so many pets to overheat without warning -- and what can you do to prevent it?

Some breeds are more susceptible to heat than others. If you have a brachycephalic pet -- one with a characteristic flattened, short nose, such as a Bulldog or Pug -- his risk of overheating is higher than that of a longer-snouted animal. These pets' inability to pant efficiently makes self-cooling a challenge even in moderately warm weather, so schedule their walks for just a few minutes during the coolest parts of the day or evening. All pets require lots of water on hot days, so keep checking and refilling the bowl. Ice cubes spread out on the porch or grass will provide some welcome further relief. Purchase a camping tent or other form of shade to protect your furry family members from direct sunlight. While shaving a pet may help him feel cooler, you may need to apply sunscreen to the shaved areas to prevent sunburn.

Watch for Overheating in Pets

Practice extra caution when your pet is away from home. Always bring your own supply of fresh water. Never let your pet sit in the car unless the air conditioner is running; even with the windows cracked, internal temperatures can soar to 120 degrees. We have seen many pets die tragically due to a moment of forgetfulness on the owner's part. Even hot garden hoses or pavement can burn an animal's feet or skin, so move hot items out of the way and carry your pet across hot surfaces. If your pet does overheat, bring him to Emergency Animal Hospital so we can treat him immediately.

How do you keep your pets cool in hot temps?

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