It’s important to be able to identify the symptoms of heat stress caused by exposure to extreme temperatures. Check the animal for signs of heavy panting, glazed eyes, a rapid heartbeat, restlessness, excessive thirst, lethargy, fever, dizziness, lack of coordination, profuse salivation, vomiting, a deep red or purple tongue, and unconsciousness.
If the animal shows symptoms of heatstroke, take steps to gradually lower her body temperature immediately:
- Move the animal into the shade or an air-conditioned area.
- Apply ice packs or cold towels to her head, neck, and chest or immerse her in cool (not cold) water.
- Let her drink small amounts of cool water or lick ice cubes.
- Take her directly to a veterinarian.
In many states, it’s against the law to leave a pet unattended in a parked vehicle. Despite these laws, companion animals die every year from heatstroke. The worst part is knowing that each death was preventable.If you’re a pet owner and want to learn how to help your animal in an emergency, consider signing up for Pet First Aid classes. We’re also encouraging owners to cool off by diving into the American Red Cross Pet Photo Pool! Two lucky pet owners will receive a free copy of the Dog First Aid guide and DVD.