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11 Ways to Prevent Pet Heatstroke

Put your pet’s health first this summer and learn easy ways to stop overheating and avoid heatstroke.

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As the weather starts getting warmer, don’t forget that dogs and cats face increased risk of heat stroke during the summer. Unlike people, they have very few sweat glands, which are found primarily on their paws and noses. Though many people believe that dogs sweat through their tongues, panting is not an effective method of heat loss.

If your pet exhibits frantic breathing, a bright red tongue, vomits, or staggers, it is likely suffering from heat stroke. In severe cases you will notice your pet’s lips begin to turn pale blue or gray. Pets most susceptible to heat stroke are animals with shortened muzzles such as Bulldogs, Pugs or Persian cats; old and overweight pets; and those with respiratory problems. The Humane Society advises that immediately after you notice symptoms of heat stroke, move the pet into the shade or indoors with air conditioning. Apply cool – not cold – water to your animal to gradually lower their body temperature. Finally, seek veterinary care, which can best save your pet’s life.

Click on for extra tips to keep your pet cool this summer.

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First of All, Lots of Water!

Always supply your pet with water and make sure the dish is out of the sun. Put ice in to keep it cooler, longer. If you’re going to be away for long periods of time, consider investing in a water bowl that automatically refills.


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Go For a Dip

Just like us, most dogs are craving a cool down when the weather heats up. Take your dog for a swim or hose them down with water on hot days. Another option is to have a kiddie pool in the somewhere that the dog can climb in and out of when he gets too hot.


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Photo: Thinkstock

Time Your Walks Accordingly

When you know it’s going to be a scorcher, walk your dog early in the morning or late in the evening when the sun is not beating down and the temperature is likely to be a bit cooler. Invest in a portable water bowl to take with you on long walks so you and your dog can talk a water break.



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Avoid Crowds

Don’t take your pets to crowded summer events. “I can never comprehend why people insist on having their dogs with them at events such as parades and carnivals,” says veterinarian Dr. T.J. Dunn. “Dogs don’t care about arts and crafts, parades or carnivals. So why subject the animals to the heat and excitement of these human activities?”


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Pick Walking Routes Wisely

Consider changing your route during extremely hot summer days so that your dog can walk on grass or dirt. The hot pavement can really burn their paws, so it’s best to avoid it as much as possible, if you can.


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Seek Shade

Be sure that your animal has access to shade at all times. If you don’t have a tree nearby that your cat or dog can sit under when they need to, put up the umbrella in the middle of your patio table or ensure that a glass table is covered with a cloth so that your pet has some refuge from the summer sun when they need it.


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Let Bunnies Burrow

If you have a rabbit, keep the hutch in the shade. In the wild, rabbits spend the hottest part of the day in their underground burrows where it’s cool.

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Never Leave Your Pet in The Car

Never, ever leave your dog or cat in the car, even with the windows open.

Despite massive exposure regarding this topic, the number one cause of a dog’s heat stroke in dogs remains being left in a hot locked car.

“Always be conscious of the effects of heat buildup in a vehicle, because it takes only a few minutes for the internal heat to increase forty degrees or more above the outside air temperature… especially in direct sunlight,” Dunn said.

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Keep Your Bird Cool

Make sure there is an accessible place where your bird can enjoy some shade or consider giving him or her access to the outside where they can feel a breeze when the weather warms up. While a lot of birds are used to tropical temperatures and can handle the heat, be sure to keep cold water in their cage and mist them with a cool spray throughout the day, and try feeding them some moisture-rich  fruits such as watermelon.

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Keep Your Pet Well Groomed

Be sure to keep your pet well-groomed and ensure that they are free of mats, which can tug tightly at the skin and be uncomfortable for your pet.


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Use Sunscreen

Sunscreen can be used on pets depending on the location of the sensitive skin. Use care in picking the product as cats and dogs are prone to licking themselves and should not ingest most lotions.