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Is Your Dog or Cat More Susceptible to Heat?

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Is Your Dog or Cat More Susceptible to Heat?

Summertime is a great time to get outdoors and enjoy the warm weather with our pets. This time outdoors can be fun and a great source of exercise. However, it is important to be mindful of the heat and sun to prevent any problems in our four-legged friends.

The summer heat can be uncomfortable and sometimes dangerous for pets.

summer heat

Pets are more prone to heat-related illness than humans. Unlike humans who cool themselves off by by sweating through our skin, cats and dogs primarily reduce body heat through their respiratory tract (lungs, trachea and nasal passages) by panting.

It is possible for pets to cool down through their paw pads and skin, but not enough – especially with all that fur.

Is your pet at risk for heat exposure?

Here are some things that can make a pet more prone to heat exhaustion:

  1. Older pets (over the age of 10)
  2. Younger pets (under 6 months)
  3. Overweight (more motivation for that diet!)
  4. Not conditioned for exercise
  5. Not used to prolonged exposure to the outdoors
  6. Shorter muzzles/snouts (such as boxers, bulldogs, pugs, Himalayan & Persian cats)

If any of these describe your pet, be sure to watch for these signs of problem:

  1. Excessive panting & drooling
  2. Vomiting
  3. Diarrhea
  4. Blood shot eyes
  5. Visibly tired and weak
  6. Dry mouth, gums and nose
  7. Skin test – if you pinch an area of loose skin together, it will take longer than normal to fall back into place.

If your pet is showing any of these symptoms, you should immediately:

  • Move your pet into the shade or an air-conditioned area
  • Apply ice packs or cold towels to their head, neck and chest
  • Run cool water over them
  • Give them small amounts of cool water or ice cubes to lick

Note: If you suspect that your pet is suffering from a heatstroke, take them to your veterinarian immediately.