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Pet Dehydration and Heatstroke

You know how to avoid the pitfalls of extreme hot or humid weather. What you might not know is that your dog or cat is also at risk. Pet dehydration and heatstroke could happen to them just as it could happen to a family member. That’s why your vet team at North Yonge Veterinary Hospital in Newmarket wants you to know the basics about overheating your pet.

Understanding Pet Heatstroke In Newmarket

Dogs Are Particularly Vulnerable

Dogs usually stay high-energy, regardless of the weather outside. If you’re running or playing with the kids, they’ll want to do the same. The problem is, dogs pant instead of sweating, and that’s not as efficient a cooling system. Many also have thick fur that makes it difficult for them to regulate their temperature during a hot day. Dogs that are older or overweight or in poor health can be at particular risk of overheating.

Flat-nosed breeds like bulldogs and boxers can’t pant as easily as other breeds. It is important to never leave dogs tied up outdoors where they can’t escape the heat or direct sunlight, and with insufficient water.

Dogs have also died when left too long in parked cars when it’s hot out. Under such conditions, even the hardiest breeds can suffer from the heat.   

Cats Can Suffer Too

Most cats aren’t at risk from heatstroke due to the fact that most are indoor cats. However, certain breeds are more susceptible to heatstroke and dehydration than others. Persians and other cats with flatter faces have a harder time panting, so they’re more vulnerable. Also, cats that are obese, older or in poor heart health are at an elevated risk, just like dogs. So, don’t get too confident of your feline friend staying healthy when temperatures soar.

Your house doesn’t have to be air-conditioned when you leave kitty alone, but try not to leave it uncomfortably warm -- and leave plenty of water within reach. If your cat has cool surfaces upon which to lay, that’s a good thing too. Draw the curtains to avoid radiant heat. And consider filling a water bottle and freezing it. Wrap it in a towel and leave it where your friend likes to chill.

Know the Signs

Pet dehydration and heatstroke can happen despite our best efforts. Excessive panting and sunken eyes can be a sign of impending danger to both dogs and cats.

For cats, a lack of urine in the litter box might suggest dehydration. You can check your cat’s hydration levels by gently pinching the skin between neck and shoulders. If it stays tented like that when you let go, your pet might be dehydrated.

Your dog can be tested the same way. Other canine signs include a dry snout, dry and sticky gums and general lethargy.

See Your Veterinarian Immediately!

Bottom line: keep your pet as cool as possible in heat conditions and always be sure they have plenty of water.

If you do see any of the above signs of extreme dehydration or pet heatstroke, you have no time to lose. Get your dog or cat to North Yonge Veterinary Hospital as soon as possible. We’ll administer intravenous fluids and lower your pet’s body temperature. You can call us at 905-830-0437 to schedule an appointment today!  

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