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Hot Weather Tips for Pets

Overheated pets (hyperthermia) are a common summertime emergencies.

Pets can quickly overheat in a closed car. As an example, when the outside temperature is 70 degrees Fahrenheit, the temperature in a car can quickly rise to 100 degrees Fahrenheit. They can become overheated in a matter of minutes.

Certain dog breeds, especially short nose breeds like pugs, French bull dogs, etc. are particularly susceptible to overheating. Rabbits and chinchillas are also very sensitive to heat.

Pets cool themselves through their respiratory tract, by panting, as they do not sweat. If the environment is too hot, they cannot cool themselves appropriately.

Other predisposing factors include obesity, respiratory disease, cardiac disease, and lack of access to water.

Hyperthermic pets are an emergency and require immediate care. You may witness exaggerated panting, salivation, and weakness. Extended hyperthermia can cause severe brain damage and death.

Once you recognize that your pet is overheated, give them access to water and cool them with a cold water bath or shower. Use fans to allow for further cooling. Urgent care is required. Call your veterinarian prior to arrival, so that they can be prepared. If caught early, most of these pets survive and return to normal.

By Dr. Frank Lavac, MS, DVM

If you have any questions, you can contact Dr. Lavac at 310-828-4587.

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