Heat exhaustion, or heat stroke, is an all-too-real danger for pets in the summer months. It can have devastating consequences, and can even be fatal. Keep yourself informed about the dangers in order to ensure that your pet has a safe, enjoyable summerIt is important to recognize early signs that your pet may be overheating. As body temperature rises, animals may become restless and begin to pant. Their heart and respiratory rates will rise. They may drool, or even have vomiting or diarrhea. If you notice these things, it is time to get your pet out of the heat. Unchecked, signs may progress to weakness, incoordination, gasping for air, seizures, coma, and even death.

If you think your pet may be suffering from heat exhaustion, it is important to seek veterinary care immediately. Cool towels may be placed under the belly and on the paws to help bring the body’s temperature down, but it will be important that the animal is treated by a professional even if you start cooling measures.

Better yet, prevent the situation altogether! Never leave an animal unattended in a vehicle, even for a minute. It doesn’t take long for temperatures to increase to life-threatening levels. Be sure your pet has refuge from the sun and fresh, cool water if it is outdoors. In very hot temperatures, keep animals indoors if possible. Pets that are overweight, very old, very young, or have health problems are at greatest risk. Breeds that have short noses are also at a higher risk for heat exhaustion.

Keep yourself and your pets cool this summer and avoid an emergency situation. A little common sense and planning can help to avert a major crisis.