How to spot signs of heatstroke in pets

How to spot signs of heatstroke in pets
Pet safety in the heat (Source: WBRC)

TYLER, Texas (KLTV) -With the temperatures cranking up this weekend, an East Texas Veterinarian is reminding pet owners about the dangers of excessive heat.

GMET’s Brennon Gurley spoke to experts about what you should know before heading outside.

Putting a leash on her dog and walking outside seemed like a great thing for Kaci Willis to do for her dog Beebe, but the excessive heat is no match for her four legged pooch. “I do watch the clock more so in this type of heat especially with the triple digits, with that sun out there,” says Willis.

Just wrapping up their trip outside, Willis constantly monitors the heat and humidity. “I do try to keep them cool by maintaining cool water temperature for one thing because you keep the water outside it will get hot really good so I keep ice water for them,” adds Willis.

Doctor Michael Maris, Veterinarian, Shelley Drive Animal Clinic, says a heat stroke can occur to our four legged friends within 15 minutes. “Think about how they cool off by panting and exchanging air. If all their going to breathe is a 102-degree air they’re not going to cool off,” explains Dr. Maris.

Just this month, Maris and his staff have treated five dogs who suffered from heat related illness and even death. “If they get locked out and jump the fence and can’t get back in and its sunny and they’re barking trying to get back. In fact, we’ve seen one in the last couple of days that happened, and it died from a heat stroke,” says Dr. Maris.

Veterinarians say a heatstroke can cause different types of damage to a dog including damage to their brain and blood cells.

“What happens is you get really rapid dehydration of cells when you go into heat stroke and they go into shock and that can be permanent damage,” adds Maris.

Experts say there are several symptoms to watch out for if your pet is starting to overheat. “They’re really panting, their tongue is hanging out. I mean they’re going to do this anyway, but they’re not as stable. They have a different look in their eyes. It’s kind of more of a stare.”

Maris says this affects some breeds more than others. “The long nose dogs usually do because of heat. The short-faced dogs, a lot of times will asphyxiate on all the secretions and the foam that they stir up as they try to cool off.

Medical experts say it’s important to remember is if it’s too hot for you to be outside, the same goes for your pets. “It’s our responsibility to keep them out of those situations. They don’t reason that out. If they’re getting hot, they’ll try have a way to cool off. But if there’s no way they don’t go into a situation thinking how I am going to cool off,” says Maris.

Maris suggests owners to trim the underside of their pet’s stomach to help cool them down quickly.

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