During the summer months, it’s common to hear of pets becoming overheated.  Surely, you’ve seen the warning signs posted in shopping centers and online about the dangers of leaving your beloved pet in a hot car during these warmer times of year.  It’s a common misconception, though, that a hot car is the only potential source of overheating in pets.  In fact, your pet can become overheated pretty quickly just doing normal activities, such as walks or a quick bathroom break in the backyard.

An overheated pet should be considered an emergency, and as with any other critical condition in pets, immediate treatment is necessary to give your pet the best chances at a successful recovery.  So, it helps to know the warning signs.

Here are some of the “red flags” that your pet may be overheating:

  • Heavy panting
  • Excessive salivation, lip-smacking, or other signs of nausea
  • Weakness or sudden lethargy

With these very obvious symptoms and a bit of common sense (it’s hot outside, right?), it’s relatively easy to know when the heat has gotten to be too much for your furry sidekick.  If this is the case, your first step should be to call your veterinarian’s office to let them know that you’re on the way.  Next, you should work to keep your pet comfortable until he or she can be seen by the doctor.

  • If you’re pet has been hanging out in direct sunlight, move him or her into a shaded area or even better, bring your best friend indoors.
  • Of course you’ll want to offer plenty of water to drink. While you’re at it, get your pet a little bit wet. Avoid using water that is too cold, because this can “shock” your pet.  Instead, opt for cool to room temperature.
  • Allow your pet to lay on a cool surface, such as tile or hardwood. As much as you know he loves his favorite blanket, avoid snuggling him in an effort to comfort him.  Give him room to cool down.
  • If you have rubbing alcohol handy, you can lightly dab it on your pet’s paw pads as a means of temporarily cooling him or her down. This method is widely used by veterinary professionals, and it is very safe and effective.

Remember that no animal is safe from the harmful effects of the summer heat.  If your pet has a thick coat or is very overweight, he or she is at an even higher risk.  Moreover, even if your pet never truly experiences the effects of overheating, it simply is not kind to leave your best friend outdoors on a scorching day.  Take the opportunity to spend more quality time indoors if you think that the heat may be too much for your pet.  Limit long walks to early morning and late evening hours, and keep bathroom breaks short and to the point.

Your pet, just like you, deserves to be comfortable.

Featured Photo Credit: Jaromír Chalabala via Compfight cc