Welcome to hot, humid July—the dog days of summer! We hope you stocked up on popsicles and pool supplies, but do you know how to help your furry friends beat the heat? Keep reading to learn the signs of heat-related illnesses and discover fun summer activities designed for the coolest cats and dogs.
Is your pet merely uncomfortable and resenting the summer heat, or are they showing signs of heatstroke?
Heatstroke happens when your pet’s body temperature rises above the normal range of 100 to 102.2 degrees. It can be triggered by extreme heat, high humidity, playing without a break, or being left in an area with poor ventilation.
Pro tip: Never leave your dog, cat, or child unattended in a car. Cracking the window open does not help!
Don’t have a thermometer on hand to double-check your furry Friend’s temperature? Then, keep an eye out for these common heatstroke symptoms:
- Excessive panting (if you notice your cat regularly panting, you may want to consult a veterinarian as this can be a sign of other illness)
- Excessive drooling
- Difficulty breathing
- Diarrhea, with or without blood
- Incoordination or stumbling
- Sudden collapse
Act Fast: Get Help
Heatstroke progresses swiftly and is deadly if left untreated. Immediately contact your vet if your pet has difficulty breathing, seizures, or is otherwise unresponsive.
If your pet exhibits milder heatstroke symptoms and is responsive, move them out of direct heat into a cooler environment. Offer them cool water and gradually lower their temperature.
Pro tip: do NOT use cold water. This extreme temperature difference can cause shock or dangerous blood pressure changes.
After removing your pet from immediate danger, contact your vet. Note all symptoms you observed and any other medical concerns or conditions that can exacerbate heatstroke. For example, if your pet is overweight, elderly, or has heart or lung disease, they are at a higher risk.
Stay Cool Out There!
How do you survive the dog days of summer? Of course, the most important thing you can do for your pet is always to give them access to fresh, cool water. Make sure your pet can hang out in shaded areas.
If you think it’s too hot out, your dog agrees! Limit exercise to early morning or evening hours—midday tends to have the highest temperatures. Asphalt and sidewalks bake in the sun and can injure sensitive paws.
Pro tip: Don’t rely on a fan to keep your furry friends cool. A fan lowers your temperature by evaporating sweat and does not lower the air temperature.
Consider investing in a kiddie pool! The rescues in our shelter love going for a swim and lazing around in comfortably cool water. You could also try a game of ice cube fetch or get a set of frozen dog toys.
We hope you and your furry friends have a safe, fun summer and that you spend plenty of time in the shade!
If you’ve been thinking about adding a new companion to your life, check out BISSELL Pet Foundation’s Summer Empty the Shelter Adoption Event. We are participating from July 11 through July 31. Nearly every rescue in our shelter six months of age and older will have a $25 adoption fee, so click here to meet your new FURever Friend!