As the dangerous heat returns and the hot days of summer come upon us, doctors from Michigan Veterinary Specialists recommend taking certain precautions to ensure your pet doesn’t suffer from any heat-related injuries.
“It’s less than a week into summer and we’ve already seen multiple cases of heatstroke at several of our locations,” said Dr. Neil Shaw. “It’s very important for people to remember that their pets are sensitive to the heat.”
Doctors recommend pets be kept in an air-conditioned environment during the heat of the day and to limit strenuous activities such as running and playing.
“Focus on outdoor activities either early in the morning or late in the day,” Shaw said.
If your pet does become overheated, spray the animal down with room temperature or cool water, but never ice water. Ice cold water causes a decrease in blood flow to the skin and heat can’t escape the body, which makes heat exhaustion symptoms worse.
Don’t give sports drinks or electrolyte supplements to pets. Dogs cool off by panting and they do not sweat like people. Supplements like sports drinks can actually harm animals and make pets sick.
Lethargy, vomiting, diarrhea and dark red gums are all signs of heat related distress. If your pet is panting uncontrollably or collapses, take the animal to your veterinarian or nearest emergency veterinary hospital immediately.
Pet owners should also remember to make sure their pets have access to plenty of water at all times. Also, never leave your pet locked in a vehicle with the windows closed.
“Ultimately, any time you feel your pet may be in need of medical assistance, please don’t hesitate to get them to your veterinarian as soon as possible,” said Shaw. “Time is often the difference between life and death.”