Protect your pet from heat stroke

The summer is finally here. We all waited anxiously to get some of the famous Okanagan hot weather. So there, we’ve got it!

People are very diligent protecting their kids and loved ones from the sun. Many pets love and enjoy spending time in the sun. Mind you though, pets are also susceptible to be hurt by the hot weather.

One of the most common hazards related to the hot weather is heat stroke. Here you’ll find some info on how to protect the furry members of your family from the heat.

Heat stroke is a condition where the body is exposed to high temperature or humidity over a long period of time. The heat-regulating mechanisms of the body are affected and are unable to effectively deal with the heat, causing the body temperature to climb uncontrollably.

Young and old animals are more sensitive to high temperatures, as well as heavy coated pets and short snout animals such as Pug, Shi tzu, Boxers, Pekinese, Bulldogs and Persian cats.

Heat stroke is considered when the body temperature is generally higher then 40.0 degrees C or 104 degrees F. The high body temperature affects cellular activity of all internal organs and is a life threatening condition.

The symptoms start by heavy panting and drooling, vomiting and diarrhea, weakness and confusion. As the heat prostration progresses the gums become dry due to dehydration, and the vomiting and diarrhea may become bloody.

Terminal stages are manifested by seizures or coma, shallowing of the breathing or absence of breathing effort, and finally death.

Heat stroke is an emergency condition that requires immediate medical care.

If your pet is showing signs of heat stroke, transfer it immediately to a cool shaded spot, pour cool water on your pet but not icy water. You can pour alcohol on your pet’s paws; alcohol dilates blood vessels, which is helpful in cooling down the body.

First aid is crucial in the first minutes of treating heat stroke, however your pet’s well-being should not stop there. Your pet should be checked by a veterinarian as other medical problems (kidney failure, heart, neurological, intestinal problems) could arise hours or even days following a heat stroke. Prevention is the key!

Here are few tips how to keep your pet safe.

  • Pets should stay well hydrated when traveling or hanging out in the outdoors, don’t forget to bring along water for your pets.
  • Do not encourage your dog to run and play outside in the hot hours of the day, exercise your dog in the early morning or evening hours. 
  • Make sure your pet has a shady place to rest at. It is very important to remember not to leave pets in cars greenhouses or similar hot environments.
  • Leaving a pet in the car in the hot day, even with a cracked open window can be deadly even just after few minutes.
  • When you are taking your dog to the lake, don’t assume that they are hydrated just for the fact that they are in the water, supply drinking water for them.

I hope you’ll enjoy the summer with your pet, keep everybody safe and cool and away from the vet’s office.

Dr. Moshe oz owns Rose Valley Veterinary Hospital , a small animal veterinary practice in West Kelowna. Dr. Oz has deep love and affection for animals. It was his childhood dream to become a veterinarian, a dream that he has fulfilled when he graduated with honours from KUVM,on 2006. Dr. Oz's special interest is Internal medicine and surgery.On his free time Dr. Oz enjoys training and racing triathlons, including the legendary Penticton's Ironman.


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