It’s no surprise that it’s getting warmer – even the news has recently reported heat waves across the country. And unfortunately, each summer thousands of pets die needlessly from exposure to heat. Heatstroke is a medical emergency that needs veterinary attention as quickly as possible.
Signs of heat stroke include:
- Excessive panting
- Bright red gums and ear tips,
- Seizuring and collapse (in extreme circumstances)
Unfortunately, dogs and cats don’t sweat like people do. They typically pant, in order to dispel heat; however, this is not a very efficient system, making them much more prone to the effects of hot summer weather. Even before getting a pet to the veterinarian it is important for animal guardians to begin treatment at home by putting the pet in a tub of cool water, or applying wet towels or icepacks to the body.
On the way to the veterinarian keep the air conditioner on high and continue to apply ice packs to the pet’s body. Some natural remedies that can be tried to help lessen the severity of heat stroke include homeopathic belladona which can be given in strength of 30c potency every 15 minutes. I have seen this remedy quickly bring pets out of heat stroke. Bach flower essences such as rescue remedy or Be Serene can also be helpful in calming stressed pets.
Other preventative measures pet owners can take include encouraging pets to drink plenty of water during the summer season is to have a pet drinking fountain at home. For those pets who don’t drink a lot, one can give them ice cubes or ice chips throughout the day which is also a means of getting more fluid into them daily.
And of course pet owners should never leave a pet in a locked car for even a few minutes as temperatures can quickly rise to over 120 degrees in a few minutes, even with the windows left open. In times of extreme heat, it is best to bring pets that spend most of their time outdoors, inside as even shaded area temperatures can still be quite elevated.