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Surviving the Dog Days of Summer | Pets

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Surviving the Dog Days of Summer
Surviving the Dog Days of Summer

As the temperature rises, so do Fido and Fluffy’s chances of experiencing heat-related problems. As the scorching days of summer descend upon us,Pet Sitters International (PSI) outlines what steps should be taken if a pet is suffering from heatstroke.


According to the Animal First Aid Chapter of PSI’s Certification Program, which was created in conjunction with Thom Somes, the Pet Safety Guy™, pets can easily suffer from heatstroke.


“High body temperatures and stress can cause a pet to go into heatstroke,” Ellen Price, PSI academic manager, said. “Heatstroke is most often caused when pets are left in a confined space with little or no ventilation during periods of warm temperatures and high humidity.”


The signs of heatstroke can include:

  • Uncontrollable panting
  • Foaming at the mouth
  • Depression
  • Lethargy
  • Agitation
  • Vomiting
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Tongue and gums that turn from bright red to blue to gray
  • Capillary refill time of more than two seconds

PSI suggests the following five survival actions if a pet is suffering from heatstroke. 

  • Restrain the pet. Muzzle only if absolutely necessary. If muzzled, cool the pet because it will not be able to pant and cool itself.
  • Bathe or hose the pet with cool water (not cold) until its temperature subsides. You can also place the pet in a cool, well-ventilated space and wrap it in a wet, cold sheet or towel.
  • Prepare to treat for shock. This includes placing the pet on its side with head extended. If the pet isn’t muzzled, open its mouth and cautiously pull the tongue past its teeth with your fingers. Keep the tongue extended to keep the airway open. Slightly elevate the pet’s hindquarters.
  • Monitor the pet’s temperature with a digital thermometer.
  • Transport to the veterinarian or emergency animal hospital.

Laura Stauffiger is the proprietor of Laura’s Critter Care, LLC, an in your home pet sitting and dog walking service that services Erie and Niagara Counties, and is also a member of Pet Sitters International  (PSI).  For more information visit her website or send an Email.



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