Summertime in Toronto means lots of fun outdoor activities with our pets. It also means the potential danger of heat stroke! Unlike humans, our pets can’t sweat to lower their body temperature. If they become overheated, heat stroke can turn deadly quickly. It’s important to recognise the signs of heat stroke so you can take action immediately! Here’s what you need to know:

Signs of Heat Stroke

Dogs and cats who are beginning to overheat will typically attempt to find water, shade, or a cooler place to go. They might also begin panting and drooling, and their footpads might sweat.

If the attempts to cool off are unsuccessful and the animal’s body temperature rises further, you might notice:

  • Rapid breathing
  • Weakness
  • Dizziness
  • Vomiting
  • Seizures
  • Collapse
  • Redness of the tongue and mouth

Preventing Heat Stroke

During the summer months, try to walk your dog during the morning or evening hours.

Limit your pet’s time outside and be sure he has access to shade and fresh water at all times.

Never leave a pet in a car with the windows closed. Even when the outdoor temperature is in the high 70s, the temperature inside a car can quickly rise to dangerous levels.

Take extra precautions when humidity levels are high, which can increase the heat index.

Also, take extra precautions for brachycephalic dog breeds (short-nosed breeds), like bulldogs, pugs, boxers, and others. These breeds are more susceptible to heat stroke than longer-nosed breeds.

Treating Heat Stroke

If you find your pet unconscious or in serious distress, attempt to cool him off immediately. Dogs and cats should be soaked in cool water, focusing on the back of the head and neck and being sure that no water gets into the nose or mouth.

You can place an icepack or bag of frozen vegetables on the back of the head, too, and let the overheated animal drink as much water as he wants.

Even if a pet has seemed to recover, heat stroke can lead to kidney failure, swelling of the brain, abnormal clotting of blood, and other dangerous conditions, so call our office immediately if you suspect your pet is overheated.

If your pet does experience heat stroke and needs intensive care, our team is here to help. We provide facilities for routine hospitalization, intensive care, critical care, and isolation. Our dedicated team of doctors, technicians, and veterinary assistants will nurse and monitor your pet to ensure maximum comfort and attention. To learn more about our hospitalization services, click here. If you have questions or concerns about heat stroke, please don’t hesitate to contact us.