As temperatures continue to soar and the hot summer months continue, prioritizing the safety of beloved pets is crucial. Heatstroke can have devastating consequences, including organ failure and even death. Take proactive measures to safeguard your pets and ensure they stay safe throughout the summer season.

Protect your pets

Rising temperatures mean we need to pay more attention to the special care our pets need to avoid heatstroke. Unlike humans, dogs cannot communicate when they feel overheated, making it our responsibility to provide them with adequate protection from the scorching sun, a constant supply of fresh water, and opportunities to cool down as temperatures rise.

When leaving your pets outdoors during the day, be mindful of these essential needs. Additionally, remember that leaving pets in hot cars, even for a few minutes or when parked in the shade, can be life-threatening. Sadly, the LSU Veterinary Teaching Hospital witnesses several cases of heatstroke each summer.

Some animals more prone to heat stroke

A dog's normal body temperature ranges between 99 F and 102.5 F. A mere increase of three degrees to a temperature of 105 F can lead to heat-related illnesses. Puppies, kittens, older pets and brachycephalic breeds (such as pugs and bulldogs) are particularly prone to heatstroke and related ailments.

Signs of heat stroke

Be vigilant for early signs of heatstroke, including rapid breathing, increased heart rate, and gums that change color from a healthy light pink to bright red or even dull, grayish-pink. Vomiting and diarrhea may also occur. Heatstroke is a dire emergency.

If your dog displays these symptoms, immediately move them to a shaded area, dampen their coat with cool water, and seek veterinary assistance without delay. These signs can quickly progress to collapse, organ failure, seizures, coma, blood clotting disorders and even death. All pets experiencing heat stroke require immediate treatment and careful monitoring for several days.

Prevention is key

Prevention is the key to combat heat stroke. Ensure that your outdoor pets have ample shade and access to fresh water. Never leave your pets in a parked car, even with the windows down. Use tip-proof bowls to prevent spills when you're away from home. Place outdoor water bowls in shaded areas, especially if they're made of stainless steel, as they can heat up rapidly in the sun.

Exercising with pets during the hot summer months

Furthermore, refrain from jogging or biking with your dog during midday hours in the summer. While you may enjoy a run or bike ride in the heat, it could have disastrous consequences for your furry companion. The pavement can become scorching hot and burn your dog's paw pads.

Plan your walks for early mornings or late evenings when temperatures are relatively lower. Adjust your pet's exercise level according to their age, breed and body condition, and consult your veterinarian for guidance. By taking a few simple precautions, you and your pets can enjoy a safe and delightful summer.

In case of emergency

In case of after-hours emergency medical care for your pet, LSU Veterinary Teaching Hospital on Skip Bertman Drive is available 24/7, 365 days a year. If you have pets or small exotics, call (225) 578-9600; for horses and livestock, call (225) 578-9500. For more information about the Veterinary Teaching Hospital, visit

About LSU Vet Med: Bettering lives through education, public service and discovery

The LSU School of Veterinary Medicine is one of only 33 veterinary schools in the U.S. and the only one in Louisiana. LSU Vet Med is dedicated to improving and protecting the lives of animals and people through superior education, transformational research and compassionate care. We teach. We heal. We discover. We protect.

Source link