Heat Stroke and Pets

By: Justin Ware
By: Justin Ware

We haven't had too many hot and sweaty days yet, but that doesn't mean your pet is safe from heat exhaustion that could end up killing it.

Veterinarian Karla Sathre says even on what you might consider a cool day, the sun can push a car's interior temperature up to 120 degrees, and that makes for a very dangerous environment for a pet.

"Especially on the hot, humid days, they can't sweat like we do," said Dr. Karla Sathre of the Wausau Animal Hospital. "They can't expire the heat and on a very hot, humid day, if they don't have shade to get into it can be very dangerous for them."

Also be sure to watch what you have laying in your yard.

Sathre says a number of dogs that come to her clinic in the summer are sick from eating something their owners left out in the yard.

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Tips for Pet Protection in Hot Weather

  • Never leave your pet in a parked car. Even cracked windows won’t protect your pet from overheating or suffering from heat stroke during hot summer days.

  • Exercise your dog in the early morning or evening hours, instead of during the middle of the day when it’s the hottest.

  • If your dog or cat are out during the day, remember that asphalt and concrete can get very hot and burn the pads of your pet’s feet. Your pet must always have shelter available to protect it from extreme temperatures and inclement weather. Keep in mind, too, that pets who are older or overweight are more likely to overheat during hot weather.

  • Since many people treat their lawns with pesticides at this time of year, keep your pet away from unfamiliar yards and grassy areas.

  • Provide your pet with fresh, cool water every day in a tip-proof bowl.

  • Keep your pet well-groomed, but resist the temptation to shave off all of his hair in an effort to keep him cool. A pet’s coat will protect him from getting sunburned. The coat also acts as cooling insulation for most animals.

  • Keep your pet away from spots or puddles of auto coolant in the garage, driveway, or parking lots. The sweet taste of this poisonous liquid is tempting to animals, but could lead to a fatal result.

  • Don’t let your dog ride in the back of an open vehicle, like a pick-up truck. Unless your dog is riding in the cab with you, your dog could bounced or jump out of the moving vehicle. If your pet must travel in the back of an open vehicle, make sure he’s safely tethered to the center of the bed where he’s unable to reach the sides and is able to stand or sit on a slip-proof and cool surface.

Source: http://www.ddfl.org/behavior/hot2.htm (Dumb Friends League).