Scorching summer days are upon us. Thursday is expected to be the hottest day in nearly seven years in parts of the United States. For pets that are sensitive to heat, the steamy summer months are not only uncomfortable, they are also the time when the risk of fatal heatstroke is highest. Thousands of pets die needlessly every summer from over-exposure to heat.
Heatstroke is an emergency that needs medical attention as soon as possible. Even before you take your pet to the vet, however, you need to start cooling her body down by putting her in a tub of cool water, for example, or by applying wet towels or ice packs to her body, says Susan G. Synn, D.V. M., a veterinarian in Atlanta. When you are in the car, turn the air conditioner on high and get to the vet as quickly as you can.
Here are six tips from veterinarians for homeopathic, flower essence, and other supplements to help reduce stress in overheated pets.
- Your pet pants a lot even when the temperature is cool.
- She appears tired during the warm months.
- Her gums are suddenly bright red.
Dogs and cats don’t take off their coats in warm weather, and they don’t sweat like people do. (An exception is the nearly hairless Sphynx cat, which sweats so much that it needs to be toweled off every day.) Pets pant in order to dispel heat, but it isn’t a very efficient system; they naturally run a little on the warm side. And some pets, such as those with dark, heavy coats, are much more susceptible to heat than others.
Veterinarians worry when pets seem unusually warm, because overheating may be a symptom of underlying problems. A dog who can’t walk half a block without overheating may have a heart problem or be overweight.
You will want to see your vet right away if your pet is suddenly panting much more than usual. The chances are good, however, that she just can’t stand the heat. Here are a few ways to keep her a little cooler: