AUSTIN (KXAN) - People aren't the only ones feeling the heat as temperatures continue to rise. Hotter weather this summer also means a higher chance for pets to become victims of heatstroke.
The Emergency Animal Hospital of Northwest Austin points out that cats and dogs cannot sweat - except on their foot pads - which makes them particularly vulnerable to overheating.
As a way to educate pet owners on the importance of summer safety for their pets, the Texas Veterinary Medical Foundation will host Fun in the Sun with Fido, a free heatstroke prevention event, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday at the Fannie Davis Gazebo at Auditorium Shores.
According to the Emergency Animal Hospital website, signs that your pet may be experiencing heatstroke include: weakness, heavy panting, excessive drooling, bright red gums, lethargy, posting or spreading out in an attempt to maintain balance, uncontrollable urinating or defecation, vomiting, and seizures.
Pets don't always have the convenience of retreating into the air-conditioning like their owners do, but a shady, well ventilated place for them to rest their heads on hot days can help prevent them from overheating. Doghouses are not good shelter during the summer as they can trap heat.
If your cat or dog starts to exhibit signs of heatstroke, the Emergency Animal Hospital recommends cooling your pet down by spraying them with water and pointing a fan in their direction, being sure not to use ice or cold water.
The American Kennel Club recommends soaking towels in cool water and placing the towels between your pet's legs and around their neck. If your dog begins to exhibit signs of heatstroke, you should immediately try to cool the dog down:
- Soaking towels in cool water and placing them between your pet's legs and around their neck.
- Apply rubbing alcohol to the dog's paw pads.
- Apply ice packs to the groin area.
- Allow the dog to lick ice chips or drink a small amount of water.
- Offer Pedialyte to restore electrolytes.
Check your dog's temperature regularly during this process. Once the dog's temperature has stabilized at between 100 to 102 degrees, you can stop the cool-down process.
Some tips The AKC says to follow in order to prevent heatstroke from happening to your pet are:
- Never leave your dog untended in your car, even if the temperature is mild. The temperature inside a car can rise to over 100 degrees in a matter of minutes and a cracked window will not prevent your pet from overheating.
- Provide your pet with access to shade and fresh, cool water while outdoors.
- Keep your pets outside for short periods of time and keep them inside when possible.
- Fill a child's wading pool with fresh water for your dog to cool off in throughout the day.
- Take walks in the early mornings or evenings, when the sun's heat is less intense.
- Try to avoid prolonged exposure to hot asphalt or sand, which can burn your dog's paws.
If you cannot get your pet cooled down and you begin to see signs of advanced heatstroke, take them to the veterinarian immediately.
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