Some pet owners are so excited for summer that they overlook the dangers of heatstroke for their dog, cat, or exotic pet. Because they don't possess the ability to sweat, animals develop this condition faster and more often than people do. It's also fatal in up to 50 percent of the cases. By taking a few minutes to learn about heatstroke prevention and symptoms, you could literally save your pet's life.
Signs of Heatstroke in Dogs and Cats
The only way dogs and cats have to rid their bodies of excess heat is through their paw pads and by panting. When the heat is too intense, they may exhibit several of the following symptoms:
- Panting much more than usual
- Sluggishness and/or unresponsiveness
- Sticky saliva
- Bright red tongue
- Body temperature greater than 103 degrees
Signs of Heatstroke in Exotic Animals
Birds, guinea pigs, rats, reptiles, chinchillas, and rabbits don't tolerate heat well because many of them originate from cooler climates. Some of the symptoms you may notice in an exotic animals with heatstroke include:
- Refusing food
- Labored breathing
- Lack of normal droppings
- The inability of birds and some reptiles to perch
- Lack of balance
- Ears or feet abnormally warm in rodents and rabbits
If you notice even one of these symptoms, remove your pet from the heat and contact Cedar Pet Clinic immediately. You may call the Animal Emergency Referral Center of Minnesota in Oakdale or St. Paul for after hours emergencies.
Preventive Measures to Safeguard Your Pet's Health
One of the most important thing you can do is to keep your pet hydrated by making sure she always has access to cool drinking water. Cats and exotic pets should be kept indoors on hot days, but this usually isn't an option with dogs who need to do their business outside. When your dog goes out, make sure there are plenty of shady areas and call him in right away when he's finished.
Dogs also need regular exercise outdoors. If your pooch has energy to burn and must get outside, choose the early morning or evening hours when the sun's rays aren't so hot. Lastly, never leave an animal in a car while you run errands. You have no way of knowing how hot it can get inside of your vehicle or whether your tasks will take longer than expected. When it comes to animals and heat, it's always best to err on the side of caution.