How heat stroke can effect your pet

By Dr. B.G. Peanut | Hello everyone. Dr. Peanut here. I am delighted to have been asked to provide some pet information for Eat Sleep Play Beaufort. We live in a very dog friendly town that I love having visitors come stay with me and my family. But these last three weeks have been tough on everyone. It has been just too bloody hot.

The heat offers some challenges for pets that we don’t normally have to deal with. Heat Stroke is a real possibility and something you have to keep an eye on in both your dogs and any outdoor cats you might have.

Older pets, like me (I am almost 10) and dogs with those cute “pug” noses are predisposed to suffering from the heat and humidity. Add to that group, pets that are overweight or have a cold or flu are also more likely to be affected by the heat.

The earliest signs of heat stroke are easy to detect. Dogs don’t sweat like people do. They only sweat through their paws. Cats will groom themselves often so that the liquid on their fur will cool them. If you see your pet panting heavily and producing excessive saliva, there is a good chance their body temperature is getting too warm. When their body temperature goes up it can damage many internal organs such as the heart, liver, kidneys and even the brain.

How high it goes, and how long it stays there, basically determines whether your pet will survive and whether it will have other problems caused by the heat. A dog’s body temperature should be around 101 degrees normally and for a cat it can be OK at 102 degrees. Heat Stroke occurs in either animal when their temperature gets above 104 degrees. When outdoor temperatures hover in the mid- to- high 90’s, imagine how hot a dog or cat is wearing a heavy, thick or long coat and how fast they can get seriously overheated.

Stage Two of heat stroke is when you see a pet’s gums turn dark pink or blue and they become weak and may have trouble standing. Your pet is now critical and getting them professional help is vital if they are going to survive. And there is a Stage Three but hopefully you have gotten your pet to a local Veterinarian before seizures begin.

Heat Stroke is preventable with a little common sense. First you need lots of fresh water for your pets (and yourself) both inside and outside. Secondly, don’t go running or exercise with your pet in the hottest part of the day. And please don’t leave your pet outside or worse, in a car while you run an errand. Your pet always needs shelter from the heat and lots of fresh water.

If you are concerned about your pet being over heated, cool them down quickly using rags or towels soaked in cool water (not cold water) and get them to a medical professional immediately. Let me say that again. At the first signs that your pet may be suffering from being over heated, wrap them in cool wet towels and go see your Veterinarian right away. This can be a life and death situation for your pet so don’t call for an appointment, just get in the car and go. Call the Vet on the way to let them know you are coming in with an emergency.

But hopefully, none of this will be necessary because you are all responsible pet owners and this ridiculous heat wave has to break sometime soon. Right?

Dr. B.G. Peanut

Pet Friendly Beaufort is proud to introduce Dr. B.G. Peanut, known to her friends as “Peanutty”. Dr. Peanut has a doctorate in Dog Psychology and a PhD in Pet Behavior. She received her degrees from the University of Puerto Rico, Dead Dog Beach campus and currently lives on Lady’s Island. Dr. Peanut is known worldwide as a picky eater and subsequently has become a Top Chef specializing in unusual preparations of kibble.