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Heat exhaustion - How hot is too hot?

Jun 27, 2022

With the recent heatwave all across Pitt county, it is no joke on just how hot it can get. Just a few weeks ago we were reaching triple digits. And if you think you're hot, just imagine how hot it is to your fur legged friends as well. With that being said heat exhaustion(otherwise known as a heat stroke) can occur as a result of the increased heat. This tends to occur when a pet's body temperature rises above the normal range of 100-102.5 degrees — anything over 103 degrees is considered dangerous.


Tips and tricks

Pets, unlike humans, are only able to cool off mainly by panting. They are not equipped with the amount of sweat glands a human has which we use to cool off by sweating. Some pets are more likely to experience a heatstroke than others. Long haired fur friends as well as brachycephalic(short-nosed) breeds like boxers, pugs and bulldogs are some of those. For those reasons we advise you to keep a close eye on your pets during this heat and remember to keep this valuable information in mind. With that being said, here a couple of things you as a pet parent can do in order to keep your pets safe from suffering a heatstroke.

  • When your pet wants to run in play on a warm and sunny day, be sure they take adequate breaks in between and offer them some access to cool water. We know how much they enjoy their playtime, but too much fun in the sun can be a risk for heatstroke.
  • If you find yourself having to leave your pet at home make sure you provide your pet with an area with air conditioning or ventilation when indoors. Or if your pet happens to be outside, make sure they have access to a shaded area with plenty of water.
  • If you happen to take your fur friend on a car ride be sure to provide them with air conditioning. Cracked windows do not provide much ventilation. Car temperatures rise very quickly and it only take 5 minuets in a hot car for an accident to occur. But if you happen to be in a situation where you need to step out of your car we advise you to leave the car on with the air conditioning running in order to prevent any heat stroke from occurring, especially on those hot summer days.


What to look out for?

When it comes to heatstroke here are some things to watch out for in order to make sure your pet is not at risk of overheating: Excessive panting/drooling, Difficulty breathing, Rapid heart rate, Vomiting/diarrhea(with or without the exception of some blood), Weakness/stumbling, Sudden collapse and Seizures.


If you suspect your pet is experiencing a heat stroke try to follow these quick steps to ensure your pet gets the adequate care needed:

  • Walk you pets to a cool shaded area
  • Hose your pet down with cool(NOT COLD) water to get their temperature to go down. While doing so be sure to also add a fan next to your pet as well.
  • Call your vet immediately for additional instructions on if a visit is needed for your pet.

When cooling off your pet it is important to cool them off gradually. If you are able to get a rectal temperature your vet may appreciate it as well. That way they can have as much information as possible to treat your pet accordingly.


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