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Heatstroke in Cats & Dogs

Heatstroke in Cats & Dogs

The summer months can get very hot, putting your pet at risk for heatstroke. Today our Roswell vets talk about the signs and symptoms of heatstroke in cats and dogs and how you can help.

Heat Stroke in Cats and Dogs

During the summer months, your pet's core body temperature can rise faster than their bodies can cool themselves down, leading to heatstroke.

This condition can cause your pet's entire body to experience an inflammatory response, which can result in organ failure and even death.

Heatstroke in cats and dogs can also be caused by factors such as excessive exercise, lack of shade, dehydration, and being in a warm and humid environment with poor circulation, such as being left in an unventilated car or outdoors on a hot day. I

It's important to note that certain factors can increase your pet's risk of heatstroke.

  • Obesity
  • Thick fur/ coat
  • Age ( young or old pets)
  • Dehydration
  • Flat-faced pets ( Himalayan cats, Persian cats, bulldogs, Scottish terriers, etc.)

If you believe your pet has heatstroke, it is considered an emergency that requires immediate veterinary care.

Signs and Symptoms of Heatstroke in Dogs and Cats

Below are several signs you should watch out for to determine if your cat or dog is suffering from heat exhaustion or heatstroke:

  • Panting ( most often seen in dogs but, can occur in cats with heatstroke)
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Dizziness
  • Lethargy
  • No or little urine
  • Delirium/ mental confusion
  • Drooling
  • Red or pale gums
  • Seizures
  • Muscle tremors
  •  Red tongue
  • Heart rate increase
  • Distressed breathing
  • Rapid breathing
  • Coma

If you notice any of these symptoms, contact your vet immediately, as heatstroke is a serious condition requiring urgent care.

First Aid Care for Pet Heatstroke

If you are unable to take your pet to the vet immediately, there are a few things you can do at home to lower your cat's or dog's body temperature.

  • First, remove them from the hot environment as fast as you can.
  • Place cool (not cold) water or cloths on their bodies to help cool them down. Don't use ice packs, ice cubes, or cold water, as it can worsen their condition.
  • Aim a fan at them to implement evaporative cooling.
  • Keep the air conditioner on the entire time you are in the car taking them to the vet.
  • Your pet has to be cooled down gradually, trying to cool your cat or dog too quickly will only make the situation worse, never use ice or ice-cold water.

Call your vet to inform them of your emergency and to let them know you are on your way, they may even provide you with further instructions on how to help your pet before you get to the animal hospital.

To Prevent Heatstroke

To avoid heatstroke in your furry friends, prevention is key. Always remember to follow these steps to ensure the safety of your cat or dog in warm weather.

  • Make sure your pet always has access to shade and fresh drinking water, especially when they are outside in the heat.
  • Keep your pet inside on hot days and only bring them outside for bathroom breaks.
  • Do not leave your pet in a car it can kill them, even on mild day's the temperature in a vehicle can rise very rapidly.
  • Keep your pet off of hot surfaces with little or no shade such as asphalt, concrete, and stone.
  • Keep a water area in the shade such as a kiddie pool or sprinkler so your dog can cool themselves off and have fun while they are outside.
  • Alway's keep inside areas well ventilated with fans or/ and air conditioning.
  • Do not take your pet outside for exercise during the day when it is hot out, wait for the evening time when the air is cooler.

If you believe your cat or dog has heat exhaustion or heat stroke contact our Roswell vets for urgent veterinary care because it is considered an emergency that requires immediate attention.

Experienced Emergency Vet Care

Animal Emergency Center of North Fulton is an after-hours and critical care hospital, providing veterinary emergency care since 1991. If your pet is experiencing an emergency, contact us to get the help your pet needs.

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