How to Prevent Heatstroke in Cats and Dogs
Dogs and cats cannot respond to heat in the same way as we do because they don’t have sweat glands all over their body to regulate the temperature. That is why pets are predisposed to heatstroke.
Heatstroke is a severe and life-threatening condition in cats and dogs that requires urgent action. It can happen to all pets but is often overlooked.
As a responsible pet owner, you should know the symptoms of heatstroke, how to prevent it, and what to do if your pet has signs of heatstroke.
What is heatstroke?
It can be defined as an injury syndrome caused by a significant increase in body temperature that affects all the organs of the body. The word heatstroke means “to be hit by the heat.”
When core body temperature rises between 106 ° F and 109 ° F in cats and dogs, it will result in a complete or systematic inflammatory response that will damage vital organs such as the kidney, liver, and brain.
It occurs when the temperature gets too high, and pets cannot regulate their body temperature. It can be fatal if actions are not taken immediately and appropriately.
How do pets regulate their body temperature?
As mentioned above, cats and dogs don’t have sweat glands all over the body; their body to dissipate heat, but they do have few glands around the nose and on their paws. Pets also have fur; that is why their mechanism of temperature control is less effective.
They have only two ways to control their body temperature. The first one is panting; heat is dissipated through evaporation, but excessive panting results in dehydration. Another mechanism is the radiation of heat from body areas without fur like belly.
As mentioned earlier, cats and dogs don’t have sweat glands all over their bodies to dissipate heat, but they do have few sweat glands around their noses and paws. Pets also have fur, so their temperature control mechanism is less effective. They only have two ways to control their body temperature.
The first is panting; the heat is dissipated by evaporation, but excessive panting can cause dehydration. Another mechanism is the radiation of heat from areas of the body without fur, such as the belly and ThePets is a very helpful website to find more interesting tips.
What to watch out for?
You must know the symptoms of heatstroke to be able to diagnose the condition early. This early detection can protect your pet from serious harm.
- Excessive panting (common in the dog but rare in cats)
- Dull eyes.
- Rapid heart rate.
- Excessive drooling.
- Dizziness or lack of coordination.
- Muscle tremors
- Bright red tongue some time turn blue
- Pale or bright red gums.
- Abnormal bleeding
- Convulsion or Collapse.
When can heat stroke occur in cats and dogs?
Heatstroke can occur in cats and dogs for many reasons, but the most common cause is extreme temperatures that can be due to hot weather during the summer or when you left your pet in the car. Here are some other factors that also increase the chances of heatstroke in pets like:
- Overweight or obesity.
- Breathing problems (laryngeal paralysis)
- Heart conditions.
- Neurological diseases.
- Age matters (the very young and the very old).
- Excessive exercise.
- Walk-in hot weather
- Long-haired breeds.
- Brachycephalic breeds (flat-faced anatomy) such as Pugs, Bulldogs, or Himalayan cats.
How to manage heat stroke?
The first step in controlling heat stroke is to prevent it entirely, but sometimes it is not possible. Heatstroke can occur even though we have done everything we can to prevent it.
If you see any signs or symptoms of heatstroke in your pet, you can do several things to keep your pet safe and healthy, such as:
Immediately remove your cat or dog from the warm environment and take it to a more relaxed place indoors.
Apply room temperature water with a spray or cloth to cool the body temperature on the neck, abdomen, and bridge of the nose. You may also wet the paws and earflaps with cold water. This will help prevent brain damage and lower body temperature.
Never pour water into the mouth of an unconscious or collapsed pet, and never force any pet to drink water. If your pet is willing to drink a little water, you can offer it. This will prevent dehydration.
If your pet shows severe signs of heatstroke, it is best not to try first aid, take it to the vet immediately because it may delay veterinary care.
Try not to walk your pet to the veterinary clinic, as it will exhaust it more. If you see your pet recover after first aid, keep an eye on it for the next 24 hours because a complication may appear later.
Your vet can do many things to get your pet back to normal conditions. It is best to always get pet insurance; this will help you pay the vet bill and expenses. Intravenous therapy can be configured to maintain your pet fluid balance in the body.
The cooling enema is also used to lower your pet’s body temperature. Oxygen or necessary medications may be recommended if the condition is severe. Your vet may also perform blood tests to confirm that heatstroke has not affected any vital organs.
There are a few things you should avoid while handling heatstroke in cats and dogs.
Never use ice-cold water or put your pet in cold water to cool it down because it is actually harmful. This will make it harder for the pet to cool down due to the contraction of the blood vessels near the skin.
Always start with prevention
As mentioned earlier, prevention should be the first step because it is the best defense against heatstroke. Here are some preventive measures you should take to avoid heatstroke in cats and dogs.
- Always take your pet for a walk in the coolest times of the day, such as early in the morning or after sunset. Stop a bit to rest or for a water break if necessary.
- If your pet stays outside, make sure the place is shady and cool. If not, take it indoors where the temperature is cooler.
- Always provide cold water to your pet and place some ice cube to keep it fresher for a long time.
- Provide your cat and dog healthy and nutritious food.
Heatstroke can be fatal for your cat and dog; you must take immediate steps to control this condition. Therefore, you need to make sure to keep your pet cool in the hot summer month and never leave it in the car.