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Staying safe in the sun – heat stroke

By June 21, 2022 Greenbay Vet News

At the hottest time of year, it is important to know how to keep your pets safe while still having fun this summer.


Heatstroke is when your pet has a higher-than-normal body temperature (hyperthermia). Signs of heatstroke include the following:

  • Excessive panting
  • Hypersalivation (lots of drooling and thick saliva)
  • Bright red gums and tongue
  • Urinating less
  • Lethargy (seem very tired and weak)
  • Breathing difficulty
  • Rapid heart rate
  • Seizures
  • Sudden collapse

Heatstroke can be fatal – if your pet is showing signs, call us for advice.

 General tips to avoid heatstroke:

  • Walk your dog early in the morning before the temperature rises, or in the evening, once the sun has gone down.
  • Check the temperature of the pavement with the back of your hand. If it is too hot for you to touch, it is too hot to allow your pet to walk on and could damage their paws. Keep them inside until it cools down.
  • Never leave your pet unsupervised outside on a hot day.
  • If you are going to let your pet go out into the garden, ensure there are plenty of shaded areas available and provide multiple bowls of fresh water. Make sure they can freely go back inside if they wish.
  • Be mindful that brachycephalic dog breeds such as pugs, bulldog breeds, shih-tzus and boxers are more prone to overheating in the sun. These breeds especially should be kept inside during the hottest parts of the day.
  • If your pet is elderly or overweight, they are also at higher risk of heatstroke. Keep them inside during the hottest parts of the day.
  • NEVER leave your pet alone in a parked car. This can be very dangerous as it causes the body temperature to rise rapidly and can be fatal in as little as 15 minutes.

 How to keep your pets cool

  • Ice cubes – Some dogs (and even some cats) love to play with ice cubes. This will not only keep them entertained but will also help to keep them cool and hydrated.
  • Cool mats – These can be purchased from most pet shops and contain a special pet safe gel that automatically becomes cool. They are great for dogs or cats as they come in a variety of sizes.
  • Fresh water bowls/bottles – providing your pets with plenty of fresh water sources throughout the day is essential to keep them hydrated and cool.
  • Limit exercise on hot days – don’t allow your pet to over exercise on hot days as this can lead to overheating. Dogs and cats do not have the ability to sweat as humans do, so are not able to regulate their body temperature as well as we can.
  • Fans – these can be used but do so with caution. Try to avoid placing them directly in front of your pets’ face as this can cause damage the surface of their eyes.

If you have any questions about how else you can keep your pet safe this summer, please contact the surgery on 01803 606059/843836 or send an email to info@greenbayvets.co.uk.

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