The truth is that dogs and cats sweat very little. Dogs sweat a bit from their paws, and cats sweat a smidgen from their paws and tongues. You might notice that cats groom themselves more frequently on hot summer days while dogs pant to cool themselves.
Your pet’s body isn’t nearly as efficient at cooling as your body is. That’s why pets can be particularly vulnerable to heat stroke. Any dog or cat can be vulnerable, and some breeds – like Bulldogs, Pugs or Pekingese – can be especially susceptible.
Take a look at these signs so you won’t be caught unaware:
- Excessive panting or difficulty breathing
- Dark or bright red tongue and gums
- Bloody diarrhea or vomiting
- Body temperatures of 104-110 F degrees
Treatment should begin immediately:
1. Cool it. Take your pet to a cooler place – in the shade or an air conditioned building to help her cool off. You can place your pet in a tub of cool water for up to two minutes or use a garden hose.
Warning: Avoid icy cold water. Super cold water can cause blood vessels to constrict, slowing down the cooling process. Monitor your pet’s rectal temperature – and stop the cooling once it reaches 103. Cooling too quickly could endanger your pet with Hypothermia and shock.
2. Visit the vet. Even if your pet seems to be fine once you’re inside or in the shade, it’s prudent to have him checked out. Elevated body temperatures affect internal organs like your pet’s liver, brain and kidneys.
3. Find a cool ride. When you take your pet to the vet, cool cloths applied to her head and feet can help her feel comfortable.
Summer time presents scenarios that can quickly lead to heat stroke. Challenges include a vacation spot that’s warmer or more humid than what your pet’s used to, being confined in an area in direct sunlight, overexertion in the hottest part of the day or too much time on hot sand or concrete.
A little prevention means your hot dog plays it cool and your cool cat stays that way.