November 3, 2009

When the weather warms up, it’s important to take steps to ensure that your pet doesn’t end up with heat stroke, a serious and potentially fatal condition.

There are a few things that can predispose or contribute to your pet ending up with heat stoke:
  • Leaving a dog locked in a hot car (even in the shade and with the windows down)
  • Confinement in any outdoor space without shade
  • Restricted access to water
  • Short-nosed or flat-faced dogs, dogs that suffer from bronchial problems or cardiovascular disease are in a high risk group for a predisposition to heat stroke

Symptoms of heat stroke include the following:
  • Rapid, frantic, and noisy breathing
  • Tongue, gums and other mucous membranes are bright red
  • Saliva is thick/frothy and foaming
  • Pupils may be slightly dilated or eyes may have a ‘frantic’ or stressed look

Extreme cases will include these symptoms:

  • Unsteady, staggering gait
  • Diarrhea
  • Rectal temperature over 106 degrees Fahrenheit

What to do:
  • Move to a cooler location immediately
  • If the dog has a high temperature or a staggering gait, submerge dog in tub full of cool (but not freezing cold) water or hose off (making certain that the water is reaching the skin)
  • Take your pet to the closest animal hospital and make sure that air conditioning is on full-blast. If you can, call ahead to let them know you’re on your way with a heat stroke victim so they can prepare for your arrival.
  • Many holistic vets recommend Rescue Remedy for heat stroke. This flower essence combination is available from most health food stores and can help to ‘bring around’ your pet en route to the vet. Rescue Remedy is not, however, a replacement for veterinary attention.