Your Guide to Heatstroke in Pets — How to Spot the Signs and Safeguard Your Pet

You’re lucky. When temperatures start to rise, your body’s ready to handle the extra heat. 

You can thank your sweat glands. They help regulate your body temperature, keeping you cool when the mercury starts to climb. 

However, while your body can handle the heat, your pets aren’t as lucky. They can’t cool themselves down as easily, and are at serious risk of heatstroke.

In order to help you keep your pets safe from heatstroke, we’re created this guide. On this page you’ll discover the causes, symptoms, prevention, and treatment of heatstroke in pets. 

What is Heatstroke? 

You want pet to be in tip-top shape to enjoy all the pleasures of summer right by your side. As such, it’s important you’re aware of the symptoms of heatstroke in pets. If you know what to look out for, you can act accordingly. Symptoms include:

Which Pets are More Susceptible to Heatstroke?

There are hundreds of breeds of cats and dogs around the world. While all are at risk of heatstroke, some are more prone to it than others.

Cat Breeds Most at Risk of Heatstroke

When it comes to keeping cool, snout length is crucial for losing body heat. This means flat-faced cat breeds struggle to keep cool. Some of the most susceptible are:

  • British Shorthairs
  • Himalayans
  • Persians
  • Scottish Fold

Dog Breeds Most at Risk of Heatstroke

As with cats, it’s flat-faced dog breeds who are most at risk. Be especially vigilant if you’re a pet parent to a:

  • Boston Terrier
  • English Bulldog
  • French Bulldog
  • Japanese Chin
  • Lhasa Apso
  • Pekingese
  • Shih Tzu

What to do if Your Pet Has Heatstroke

You need to act fast. Cooling down your pet is your number one priority. Immediately remove them from the hot environment before applying water onto their fur and skin to cool your cat or dog down. Just make sure to avoid icey water or ice itself, as this could exacerbate the issue. It’s also a good idea to wet the area around your pet.

Once you’ve followed these steps, take your pet to the vet as soon as possible. Don’t skip this step. Heatstroke is always an emergency, even if you pet looks to have recovered. 

Once at the vet, a trained professional will check your pet’s temperature, vital signs, and administer any required treatments including:

  • Supplemental oxygen
  • Giving your pet an IV drip
  • Various cooling treatments
  • Blood tests
  • Medication
  • Monitoring your pet

How to Protect Yours Pets From Heatstroke

Prevention is the best way to beat the heat and protect your pets from heatstroke. Some of the measures you can take include:

Ensuring Your Pet Always Has Access to Fresh, Clean Water

Keeping your furbaby hydrated helps stave off the effects of heatstroke. However, pets are often suspicious of standing water, like the kind you’ll find in traditional water bowls. 

To encourage your pet to drink and stay hydrated, it’s worth investing in an automatic pet water fountain, such as the Petlibro Capsule Water Fountain. With one of these around your house, your parched pets will have access to fresh, clean, flowing water 24 hours a day, keeping them happy and hydrated. 

Keeps Pets in a Cool, Well-Ventilated Space

Cool temperatures and good air flow are key to keeping your pets cool when things are heating up outside. The ventilation aids in removing the evaporated water that builds up when your pet pants.

If your pet is outside, keep them out of direct sunlight whenever possible. A well-shaded area is a great place for both you and your pet to hang out when you want to enjoy some outdoor time together. 

Keep Exercise to a Minimum and to the Evenings

This one’s more for dog owners. Your pooch loves taking a stroll around the neighborhood, but when summer comes along it’s best to avoid going outside during the day. 

Especially avoid midday and late afternoon when the sun is at its hottest. Stick to the evenings when things are cooler, and remember to give your dog plenty of water upon returning home.