With this current heatwave, it’s important we pay attention and give a bit of extra TLC to our furry (and feathered) friends. The heat is uncomfortable enough for us humans, imagine what our pets must be going through! Things can quickly turn from uncomfortable to dangerous in these record-breaking temperatures.

How to help your dog or cat cool off…

  • Apply cool (not ice cold) water all over their body
  • Apply cool towels to head, neck and chest
  • Offer small drinks of cool water
  • Move the dog or cat to a cooler area

How to help your bird cool off…

  • Mist or spray the feathers with cool water
  • Put legs in cold water
  • Move the bird to a cooler area

How to help your guinea pig cool off…

  • Mist with cool water
  • Wrap in a towel soaked in cool water (not ice cold)
  • Move the guinea pig to a cooler area

You can even put a few bowls of water out to help local wildlife stay hydrated.

Be aware of the signs of heatstroke in different types of pets…

Heatstroke presents itself differently in different animals. All animals are susceptible to heatstroke, but some predisposing factors such as obesity, heart problems, age extremes (young or old), excessive exercise and thick fur can increase the chances of your pet getting heatstroke. Dog or cat breeds with short snouts (such as persian cats or pugs) can be at an increased risk as well.

Signs of heatstroke in dogs and cats:

  • Rapid panting
  • Vomiting (possibly with blood)
  • Thick or sticky saliva
  • Weakness
  • Bright red tongue
  • Diarrhea
  • Agitation
  • Increased heart rate
  • Collapsing

Signs of heatstroke in birds:

  • Panting
  • Holding wings away from body
  • Agitation

Signs of heatstroke in guinea pigs:

  • Panting
  • Shallow, rapid breathing
  • Thick or sticky saliva
  • Bright red tongue
  • Rapid pulse
  • Reluctance to move
  • Laying flat on belly
  • Convulsions

If you notice these symptoms in your pets, don’t hesitate – take your pet to the vet immediately. Vets are able to assess the severity of the heatstroke, and may treat your pet with supplemental oxygen, cooling treatments, intravenous fluids or medication.

Heatstroke can be fatal and is treated as an emergency. If you’re unsure, take your pet to the vet. It’s always better to be safe than sorry!