As we welcome the joys of summer such as swimming, barbequing,
and baseball, we have to greet the Texas heat. As
temperatures are increasing-highs this week were in the low- to
mid-90s-it is vital to take the necessary precautions to protect
pets from heat exhaustion.
Although there is not a set temperature that is considered too
hot for animals, temperatures in the high-80s and above can pose
problems for pets, Dr. Stacy Eckman, lecturer at Texas A&M
College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences (CVM)
said. She added that, generally, if it is too hot for the pet
owner to be outside, it is too hot for the pet.
Every pet is different, however, on the temperature they can
endure. Cats, for example, are usually more tolerant of the heat
than dogs and can often find a shady place to lounge.
"It is very dependent on the pet itself. For example,
overweight dogs and brachycephalic (short nosed dogs such as
bulldogs) are at a greater risk for heat stroke/exhaustion for even
short period of times in warm weather," Eckman said.
Eckman said other dogs that have a higher chance of heat
exhaustion are those genetically sensitive to the heat and those
not acclimated to the heat such as indoor dogs. Both dogs
with long, thick coats and those with short, thin coats can become
overheated so she recommended taking precautions for all types of
She explained that even dogs who exercise vigorously can become
"The perfect example of this is a dog who goes to the dog park
on a nice, warm, spring day when they have not [been] all winter,
and they play [with a] Frisbee [disk] and run more than normal,"
Eckman said. She added that this was a common case of heat
Eckman said, generally, the first symptoms of heat exhaustion
are lethargy and listlessness.
"They pant to try to cool themselves and can be anxious as they
try to find a cool place," she said.
She added that if pets are outside for too long and become
overheated, they can develop diarrhea and vomiting which could lead
If a pet has these symptoms, Eckman recommended taking him/her
to a veterinarian immediately for a diagnosis and treatment.
She stressed not to put cold water or ice packs on the animal
because it makes it harder for them to cool off.
To prevent heat exhaustion, Eckman suggested providing shade and
fans for pets. She also emphasized the importance of having
enough water for pets.
"Dogs cool themselves by panting and this can dehydrate them, so
they will need more water than you may think," Eckman said.
It is also crucial to not overwork animals so start slowly when
"Take breaks during exercise or play to make sure they cool down
and off," Eckman said.
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