Ask Dr. Anna: Protect your pet from the heat

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The sizzling days of summer have arrived and it’s important to protect your pet from the heat.  Heat stroke is a life threatening condition that requires immediate veterinary care.  Normal body temperature for dogs and cats is between 100 and 102 degrees Fahrenheit and anything over 105 degrees is considered a medical emergency.

Anna Coffin is the Veterinarian at Guthrie Pet Hospital and can be contacted at (405) 282-8796.
Anna Coffin is the Veterinarian at Guthrie Pet Hospital and can be contacted at (405) 282-8796.

Puppies, kittens, geriatric/senior pets along with breeds with short-noses, like Pugs and Bulldogs, are more prone to developing heat stroke.  Overweight pets and animals with heart or respiratory problems are also more susceptible to heat stroke.  Signs of heat stroke include excessive panting and salivation, high fever, rapid heartbeat, fatigue, collapse and seizures.

You can help prevent heat stroke by providing shade and plenty of clean water, avoiding excessive exercise and NEVER leaving your pet in a parked vehicle. “A study in 2005 at Stanford University School of Medicine found that when the temperature outside is between 72 and 96 degrees, the temperature inside a parked car, even with the windows open, goes up 40 degrees within the first hour.  A good rule of thumb to follow, if it is too hot outside for you it is too hot outside for your pet.

If you pet is exhibiting signs of heat stroke remove it from the environment to a shaded or cool area.  Begin to cool the body slowly by placing wet towels on the neck, armpits, and groin.  You can also wet the ear flaps and paws with cool water. Directing a fan at your pet will speed up the cooling process.  Do not use cold water or ice as this slows down the cooling process by causing superficial vessels to constrict which will actually hold the heat inside the pet’s body.  Transport your pet to your veterinarian as soon as possible.

Please e-mail me with your questions at and put “Ask Dr. Anna” in the subject line or mail your questions to 123 West Harrison Guthrie, OK73044.

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