Avoiding heat stroke in pets, knowing the signs and how to treat it.

It is that time a year again where heat and humidity can become dangerous to our pets.  Here is a list of symptoms of Heat Stroke and what you can do to treat heat stroke in the event it should occur.   Remember to never leave your pets in cars!  B.M.S. Pet Sitters recommends only walking dogs in early morning and in the evening when it has cooled off.  Mid day visits for our clients include a quick potty, and play time inside while the temperatures are to hot during the day. 

Heat Stroke – What is heat stroke and how does it occur?

Heat stroke is a fever that is induced by high environmental temperatures. Animals are at risk

when exposed to hot and humid temperatures because effective evaporated cooling in cats and

dogs cannot occur in these conditions. This results in the body’s core temperature rising

drastically to above 40 degrees. Once the body exceeds 41,5-42,5 degrees Celsius, cellular

function is seriously affected and unconsciousness and even death may follow.

Situations or conditions that can lead to heat stroke.

* Pets left outdoors in hot and humid weather with no shade or water.

* Exercising your pet in hot humid weather even if you have water available is putting your pet at


* Leaving your pet in a closed car in direct sun or on a warm day even with cracked open

windows can be deadly. Panting a normal physiological means to cool off actually saturates the

air with water vapor making the air in the car warmer and consequently even more difficult for an

animal to cool down.

* Young and old animals are more sensitive to high temperatures because they cannot

acclimatize effectively.

* Heavy coated dogs (Husky, German Shepherd, Chow Chow)

* Animals with medical problems. History of seizures, heart or lung disease should never be

exposed to hot humid temperatures.

* Certain breeds with short snouts such as Shit tzu, Boxers, Pekinese, Bull dogs and Persian cats

are particularly susceptible due to their flat faces that make breathing difficult.

Signs of Heat stroke

* Panting

* Sweating

* Salivating

* Difficulty in breathing

* Vomiting

* Bloody diarrhea

* High body temperature (above 40 degrees Celsius or 104 Fahrenheit.

* Increased heart and respiratory rate

* Mucous membranes bright red

* Capillary refill time very fast (less than 1 sec)

* Dehydration

* Depression, lethargic (acting drunk)

* Shock

* Seizure, Collapse, or coma


First Aid For Heat stroke

* The objective here is to cool your pet down as fast as possible to bring the body temperature

down back to normal.

* If animal is outdoors or in a car get animal out of the car or out of direct heat and bring to a cool

shaded area.

* Check for ABC’s of CPR and shock; administer CPR

* Hose down the animal with cool water. Use and find anything you can to wet your animal.

* Place water soaked towels on head, neck, feet chest and abdomen.

* If you have air conditioning in the car place animal in car with air conditioning on high and drive

straight to your veterinarian. If animal is in shock and requires CPR, have another person give

first aid, keep air conditioning on while driving to the veterinarian.

* If incidence occurs at home place pet in bathtub with running shower (cool water).

* Rub alcohol under the toe pads. This helps to cool the body.

* Once you have started cooling your pet. take its temperature every 5 minutes until you reach

your veterinarian. When your pet’s temperature returns to normal (38.5-39.5 degrees Celsius )

stop cooling.

It’s important to monitor the temperature so that hypothermia (subnormal body

temperature) doesn’t occur. Applying first aid is the vital point in saving a pet from heat stroke,

however, your pet’s well being should not stop here. Your pet should seek veterinary attention

following a heat stroke incidence as other medical problems (kidney failure, digestive tract,

neurological, cardiopulmonary problems) could arise hours or even days following a heat stroke