With hot, humid summer months here, pet owners need to be aware of the increased risk of heat stroke. A majority of heat stroke victims are pets who have been left confined in a parked car.
On a hot sunny day in south Florida, the temperature inside a semi-closed car can approach 140 degrees within 15 minutes. That is why Florida has a law making it illegal to leave a pet in a car unattended. So please, for the sake of your loved one, don’t break the law!
Another common cause of heat stroke is a summer trip to the beach. If your pet is the least bit overweight, not in good athletic condition, or has any predisposing illness, he is a heat stroke victim waiting to happen.
Other potential problems can be caused by high humidity, water deprivation, heart problems, over exercising, and lack of acclimatization.
Also, short-faced breeds — such as boxers, Boston terriers, and bulldogs — are extremely susceptible to developing heat stroke. Beach-going owners should carry plenty of fresh water for their pets. In addition, shade is a must, as is frequent wetting of the pet with cool water. You should also limit your pet’s exercise and avoid being outside during the hottest times of the day (11 AM to 4 PM).
If your dog does develop heat stroke, he needs to be immediately dowsed with cool — not iced — water and transported to your veterinarian. The car air conditioning and fans should be on high and the windows should be rolled down to help increase heat losses from you pet.
It is important to know that recovered heat stroke victims are predisposed to recurrent episodes of hyperthermia.
Therefore, your best treatment for heat stroke is to be smart, recognize potential dangers, know your pet’s condition and needs, and take a preventative approach to this life-threatening condition.