Imagine if you had a heavy fur coat that you could never take off, even when it was 95 degrees outside. You would feel pretty miserable in a hurry. Now imagine what it’s like for your pet. Not only does he not have the words to express his discomfort, he is completely dependent on you to keep him safe in the summer heat. While prevention is best when it comes to heatstroke, you should know the symptoms to look for as well.
Dogs and Cats Respond Differently to Heat Than Humans Do
When you get too warm, your body automatically starts sweating in response. Dogs and cats don’t have this ability. They pant instead or release heat through the pads on the bottom of their feet. Their bodies automatically use a temperature exchange system known as convection to cool their skin. This means that they exchange the heat from their body for the cooler outdoor air. Heatstroke can occur when the air outside is not significantly cooler than the dog or cat’s own body temperature.
Heatstroke Prevention for Your Pet
Even if your dog loves riding in the car with you, keep her at home when you’re running errands on a hot day. It takes only minutes for the temperature inside of a car to become deadly. Here are some other tips to ensure that your animal friend doesn’t succumb to heatstroke this summer:
- Make drinking water available at all times
- Don’t put a muzzle on a dog who is outside in hot weather
- Make sure that your pet has plenty of shady areas to rest and play
- Use a damp towel to keep your pet’s body temperature at a normal level
- Bring your pet inside as much as possible and turn on the fan or air conditioner
- Consider covering your dog’s paws or avoid burns from the pavement. You may also want to put off walking her until it’s cooler in the evening.
Indications of a Possible Heatstroke
Sometimes pets still suffer from heatstroke, despite receiving good care from their owners. Unfortunately, animal heatstroke has a high fatality rate. That’s why it’s so important to recognize these symptoms:
- Panting more than usual
- Gums appear pale
- Tongue appears bright red
If you notice one or more of these issues, get your dog or cat out of the heat and contact us at Grantsburg Animal Hospital Immediately. Our answering service will page Dr. Greg Palmquist for all after hours emergencies.
Photo credit: pressdigital | iStock
Parasites can be a nuisance for pets and their owners any time of year, but they are especially problematic in the summer months. When you consider that parasites breed more often in warm weather and pets spend more time outdoors, this is easy to understand. Even your indoor pet is not immune from fleas, ticks, and various types of intestinal worms. Because of their microscopic size, these parasites can get into your home on someone's clothing or even through a screen door.
Fleas and Ticks
Fleas burrow into carpet and furniture and can survive for a long time without a living host. Since your dog or cat isn't immune to flea infestation during the cold weather months, it's important to provide him with year-round protection.
Ticks can be deadly when they carry Lyme disease or Rocky Mountain spotted fever. They are often hard to spot because they are attracted to warm-blooded areas, such as the folds of your pet's ears. During the summer, be sure to check your pet from head to toe anytime she spends time in a wooded area or in thick grass.
Heartworms, hookworms, and ringworms are the most prevalent types of intestinal worms to affect dogs and cats. Symptoms of infestation may include lethargy, poor appetite, vomiting, diarrhea, and difficulty breathing. Untreated cases of heartworm can kill a dog or cat when they become lodged in the lungs and prevent normal breathing. They are also capable blocking regular blood flow to the heart.
The best way to prevent these parasites from infecting your pet is to administer monthly medication. It's easy to order heartworm pills, flea and tick powders, and several other types of medication directly from our online store.
Parasites Affecting Horses
The same parasites that threaten the health of dogs and cats are also a risk for horses. Because of their large size, horses attract additional parasites such as pinworms, tapeworms, and stomach bots. It's typically more of a challenge to keep horses free of parasites than smaller animals. At Grantsburg Animal Hospital, we publish a vaccination and de-worming schedule for horses every spring. Our equine specialists are happy to work with you to develop a parasite prevention plan for the summer.