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Hyperthermia and the Importance of Pet Heat Safety

Young beautiful girl throwing fresbee to her dog in a park at sunset - Asian woman playing with her dog

Scottsdale and the surrounding areas are quite possibly some of the best places to live, work, and play. With more than 300 sun-filled days a year, it’s not hard to see why. However, while you and your pet soak up all the rays, it’s good to know the risks associated with the heat.

Your friends at Animal Medical & Surgical Center have compiled some ideas on pet heat safety so you and your furry pal can truly enjoy the valley of the sun.

The Fact of the Matter

Around here, it’s not uncommon for temperatures to reach triple digits as early as April, increasing the odds that your pet will overheat at some point during the year. Hyperthermia, or heat stroke, occurs when your pet’s internal temperature exceeds 104 degrees.

Other symptoms of heat stroke include:

  • Excessive panting
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Accelerated heart rate
  • Glazed eyes
  • Salivation
  • Depressive stupor
  • Collapse
  • Unconsciousness
  • Seizure

Keep in mind, short-snouted pets are more likely to suffer from heat stroke, as well as young pets, senior pets, and pets who are overweight.

Mitigating Damage

If you suspect your pet is suffering from heat stroke, please seek emergency care immediately. The goal is to slowly – but effectively – lower your pet’s temperature. If you cool your pet too quickly, his or her body temperature will plummet to dangerously low levels.

Detecting heat stroke early (within 15 minutes) is ideal. To avoid serious consequences, we recommend you do the following:

  • Shelter your pet
  • Check your pet’s temperature often
  • Spray your pet with cool water
  • Soak towels and place on your pet’s chest, abdomen, neck, and head
  • Position a fan nearby (if possible)
  • Provide access to cold water

Please contact us for more advice.

Pet Heat Safety

You may have heard that leaving your pet in the car is questionable – especially when you consider how sweltering it can get inside. In just a few minutes, temperatures in a parked vehicle can soar to 120 degrees (even in the shade). We know it’s tempting, but to preserve your pet’s wellness, keep your pal out of that hot car!

Protect Your Pet

Dealing with the heat is just part of life here in Arizona. There are plenty of things you can do to help your pet cope with high temperatures. Check out these additional tips for pet heat safety:

  • Always provide shade and extra fresh water when outside. Dog houses can be insulated; make sure your pet has access to air flow.
  • Offer ice cubes for your pet to lick.
  • Cool baths are usually welcomed by water-loving pets.
  • Take your dog for a walk in the early morning or evening. Avoid the hottest part of the day.
  • Keep an eye out for your pet’s paws; asphalt and sand can burn paw pads.
  • Groom your pet frequently to keep him or her cooler; if you trim the coat, keep at least an inch of fur to protect against damaging sun rays.

Please don’t hesitate to contact our veterinary team. We’re always here to help!

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