Heat Safety Tips: How To Keep Your Pets Cool This Summer

(KLST/KSAN) – Severe gasping, vomiting, and collapse. These are just a few signs that your pet is overheating.

“They won’t be able to stand up,” said Dr. Gary Hodges of Western Veterinary Hospital. “Some people, if it gets severe, they will actually develop severe diarrhea and some of this diarrhea will actually be bloody because of the amount of heat that the dog has held in their system.”

Dr. Hodges said there are a few things you can do to prevent your pet from reaching this point. He said pet owners should make sure pets have constant access to fresh water and change it often because the water will get hot even in the shade.

“You want to make sure you change the water, keep it fresh, keep it clean where they’re going to consume a larger volume because they’re going to pant more,” Dr. Hodges said. “This is the only way dogs can expend their body heat is by panting, so they need the moisture there to help it evaporate off the tongue and mouth.”

Owners should avoid leaving animals in cages, cars, trailers, or kennels in direct sunlight at any time of day.

“If it’s an outdoor dog, we should try to give him a place where he can get out of this intense heat, somewhere under a covered area that’s well shaded, hopefully with a fan on to move the air around,” said Dr. Hodges.

Owners should avoid walking dogs during peak heat hours. You can stick to walks in the early morning or late afternoon.

If you notice that your pet is experiencing symptoms of overheating or dehydration, please contact your local veterinarian. Dr. Hodges said there are some steps he can take at home to help his pet return to normal body temperature.

“Wrap them in a cool towel where you can slowly remove body heat,” said Dr. Hodges. “You don’t want to put them in ice water or anything, you want to cool the body down pretty slowly so we don’t have a rebound and the temperature goes subnormal from a high temperature.”

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