AUSTIN, Tex. – With the summer of 2022 determined to be the hottest summer ever recorded, veterinarians from Thrive Pet Healthcare, a first-of-its-kind veterinary healthcare network with more than 350 locations across the U.S., are cautioning pet owners of the dangers associated with rising temperatures during the summer months and how to prevent heat-related illnesses and catastrophes.
According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the summer of 2021 is neck and neck with the Dust Bowl summer of the 1930s for the hottest on record, leaving many veterinary experts concerned about heat-related illnesses and tragedies among pets in 2022.
“While warmer weather motivates us to get outside and be more active with our pets, it could be a disaster waiting to happen for pet owners unaware of the warning signs of heat-related illnesses,” said Thrive National Director of Emergency Services Anthony Coronado, DVM. “As much of the country experiences hotter temperatures than in previous years, those with pets should be cognizant of the harmful – and sometimes deadly – effects heat can have on our furry friends.”
Every dog or cat, regardless of physical fitness, age, size, or breed, can suffer from a heat-related illness or death. With temperatures rising, veterinary care providers from Thrive urge pet owners to follow these safety tips for their pets:
- Never leave pets in a hot vehicle or similar enclosed space.
- Always allow your pet access to shade and fresh drinking water.
- When out for a walk, beware of prolonged exposure to hot surfaces that can harm your pet’s paws or skin, like concrete and asphalt.
- Don’t drive with your pet in the bed of a truck or with their head out the window.
- Know your pet’s limits when engaging in prolonged outdoor physical activity.
- Ensure your pet is protected from fleas, ticks, mosquitos, and parasites, which are more common during the summer months.
The normal body temperatures for dogs range between 100 to 102.5 degrees Fahrenheit, while cats’ body temperatures average between 99.5 to 102.5 degrees Fahrenheit. Pet owners should watch for signs of heat stroke that include, but aren’t limited to:
- Excessive panting and/or distressed breathing/lagging behind on a walk
- Excessive thirst
- Weakness and/or fatigue
- Thickened saliva
- Brick red or pale gums
If your pet displays any of these signs, try to help lower their body temperature by moving them to a cooler environment, providing fresh drinking water and seeking emergency veterinary care immediately. If professional veterinary care is not immediately available, use fans and air conditioning, and place cool to lukewarm, but not cold to ice-cold, water-soaked towels on the pet. Do not place the pet in an ice-cold tub, as too rapid cooling can cause blood vessels in an animal’s body to contract and reduce blood flow, making it much harder for an animal to cool down and causing further complications that will significantly hamper recovery.
It’s important to remember that even when overheated, pets will sometimes continue to exert themselves to please their owners. Even if your pet appears to have recovered, continue to seek veterinary care as soon as possible, as significant consequences that can occur from heatstroke in pets may not be obvious.
For questions or concerns regarding your pet or for other safety tips, please call your nearest hospital within Thrive Pet Healthcare network. For a list of all locations, visit www.thrivepetcare.com/all-locations.
About Thrive Pet Healthcare
Thrive Pet Healthcare is a leading veterinary service network that uniquely delivers a continuum of care to pet families and services to veterinary hospitals. With an industry-first membership program and over 350 acute, primary, and specialty providers, Thrive Pet Healthcare offers personalized, accessible care through every stage of a pet’s life and health. The veterinarian-founded organization provides premier benefits for practice staff while elevating privately held veterinary hospitals with innovative service and technology solutions. By focusing on the needs and aspirations of veterinary care providers, Thrive Pet Healthcare is supporting the wellbeing of the industry and raising the national bar for veterinary excellence. To learn more about Thrive Pet Healthcare, please visit www.thrivepetcare.com
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