As well has having a fur coat some of our pets may be predisposed to suffer from heat stress due to obesity, difficulty breathing (as in some short faced breeds such as pugs and bull dogs), medical conditions such as heart disease or thyroid disease, and excessive exercise.
Dogs and cats cannot lose heat by sweating as effectively as we can, and lose a lot of heat by panting. High humidity will decrease the amount of heat animals are able to lose by panting so it is important to take the humidity into account as well as the temperature. Even temperatures in the low 30's can become a problem on very humid days.
Heat stroke affects all organs in the body and can rapidly lead to death.
Animals suffering from heat stress will open mouth breath, may be weak or wobbly and can seizure.
Here are some basic rules to follow: -
Do not exercise your dog on hot or humid days
Always have plenty of shade available for your dog and plenty of fresh water to drink. Consider adding an ice block to the drinking bowl before you go out to help keep the water cool
A small wading pool is ideal for those animal that love to swim
Consider given your pet a summer hair cut if their coat is thick or long.
If you pet has any medical problems then consider leaving them in air conditioning on very hot days.
Do not leave your pet in the car unattended. Temperatures in a closed car and be double those outside.
If you think your pet is heat stressed then try to cool them as soon as possible by wetting them down in a hose or a bath and seek immediate veterinary attention.