During my years working for a veterinarian I can recall only a few times when a cat was brought in suffering from heat exhaustion and there were many times where pet owners brought in their dog. A lot of the times the cause of the heat exhaustion was from the owner leaving the animal inside of their car while they went into the store just for a few minutes.
During many of my shopping trips here and there this summer, I cannot tell you how many times I have seen a poor helpless dog sitting in a parked car with either just one window rolled down or all four windows just rolled down partially and these poor animals are heavily panting already. We have heard so many times on the news lately about a child being left inside of a car, but our pets are susceptible to the heat as well. Many pet owners think that their dog wants to go along for the ride, but if pet owners will just wake up and get real and just wake up and realize that it is best to just leave their pets at home, then there would be fewer tragedies to deal with.
The next time you want to take the family pet along with you for a ride, just think of this: Dogs have fur coats which do help protect them from sunburn, but taking an animal along with you to run errands is not the right thing to do and yes dogs pant to cool themselves down during hot, sultry days of summer, but think of this the next time you want to take your pet in the car with you: Leaving a pet inside of a parked car is like if a person would put on a fur coat, gloves and thick socks and then sit down inside of a car. Even with that car parked in the shade with all of the windows down would not be very comfortable for you so just imagine a poor defenseless pet.
Leaving an animal inside of the car is one way to the cause of heat exhaustion in pets. Never leave your dog or cat inside of a car not even for a few minutes. Even with the windows rolled down the temperature inside of a car will rise to unbelievable degrees. It only takes five minutes for an animal to die inside of a car on a sweltering summer day.The temperature in your car get up to a sweltering 200 degrees, depending on the temperature outside, the kind of vehicle you have, and how long it has been sitting outside in the sun. Automobiles act like a greenhouse and the heat is trapped inside of them so even on a day when the outdoor temperature is in the low 70’s the temperature inside of a car can soar up to 102 in only ten minutes and then a sweltering 120 degrees within 30 minutes time. This is with the windows down and the car is in the shade. The temperature is even higher when the car is sitting in the sun with no shade from a tree.
If you do suspect that your dog is suffering from heat exhaustion the first thing you need to do is take him to a shaded area and if possible place his paws only down in water but do not use ice cold water because this will cause hypothermia to set in fast. Ice cold water does not let the heat escape from the dog’s body. You can also tuck an ice pack under both front legs and around the groin area.
You will need to take his temperature with an anal thermometer to be able to get the most accurate reading. A dog’s normal body temperature is 102 degrees.
Just be careful when you do take his temperature because even though he may be in distress he may still bite you. Do not let your dog drink excessive amounts of water right now. Only give him enough water that will wet his throat and his mouth.
If your pet is non-responsive to your voice, take him to your local veterinarian immediately! Time is ticking away.
Dogs have a built in air conditioner to keep them cool. Panting is a dog’s natural way to stay cool. If you notice no panting at all from your dog you need to immerse them in cool water and call your vet immediately. Cats do not pant to keep themselves cool. They lay around and lick their fur and the saliva from their mouths helps keep them a cool cat. If you do notice that your cat is panting immerse him in cool water or wrap a water soaked towel around him and call your vet immediate. A cat that is panting is not good at all.
Heat exhaustion in pets can cause brain damage and organ damage and in the most severe cases will be fatal. If your pet does suffer from heat exhaustion this summer just remember to first and try to get his body temperature down by immersing him in cool water and take his temperature. Call your local vet and let him know what has happened and what you are doing for your pet and he or she may tell you to go ahead and bring your pet in if he thinks that the animal is in critical condition already. Your pet’s doctor may ask you to describe the symptoms of your pet’s condition and can decide if you need to take your pet in or if he thinks that you can treat your pet’s symptoms at home yourself. Just remember that it is never too early to call your vet whenever you think that the family pet’s health is in danger.
Here are signs of heat exhaustion in pets to watch for:
Rapid heart rate
No panting at all
Non-responsive to your voice
If the weather is too hot for you to be outdoors it is too hot for the family pet. Our pets will be much more comfy and cool if we leave them at home during the sweltering heat of the summer. Contrary to people’s thinking, pets would prefer to be left at home in their safe, cooler environment than sitting in a hot car.
Report children or pets that you see sitting outside in hot cars to the police immediately by calling 911.
I learned a lot of valuable information during my ten years working as a Veterinary Technician