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RACINE, KENOSHA COUNTIES — Temperatures in Southeastern Wisconsin are rising and climbing into the upper 80s, making heatstroke a real possibility this week for Wisconsinites and their pets.

This summer it is crucial to be aware of your pet’s safety when it comes to the heat and to know how hot is too hot.

According to the American Kennel Club (AKC), in general, a moderate 70 degrees Fahrenheit usually suits every dog and what their body can tolerate as far as temperature goes.

With an animal like a dog, it may not always be easy to understand or know what is safe and what could potentially cause harm to your pup.

Knowing the warning signs of heatstroke can help prevent a critical matter from occurring, saving pet parents the stress and worry of something serious happening to their beloved animal.

Heatstroke in pets

The AKC states that when a dog’s internal body temperature goes above a normal temperature of 101.5 degrees Fahrenheit (F), this is a fever and is called hyperthermia, but when the body temperature is above 105 degrees F, the dog could be suffering from heatstroke.

“Heatstroke usually occurs when high ambient temperature overcomes the dog’s ability to dissipate heat. The degree of damage is determined by how high a body temperature is reached and how long the animal is exposed,” says Dr. Jerry Klein, Chief Veterinary Officer for the AKC.

Signs and symptoms

Each animal can experience signs and symptoms differently, but per the AKC the following warning signs should be looked for or taken into consideration:

  • Confusion
  • Excessive drooling and thickening of saliva
  • Bright red, blue or purple gums
  • Dizziness
  • Rectal bleeding
  • Refusing to drink water
  • Lethargy
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Seizure

Treating the heatstroke

If your pet is experiencing an emergency, it is best to call your vet or visit an emergency room with your pet.

Local Emergency Vet:

Helpful tips from AKC include:

  1. Walking or carrying the dog to a well-ventilated, cool area
  2. Spraying or sponging the dog with cool (not cold) or tepid water, especially on the underside
    • Do not immerse the animal in cold water
  3. Using a fan to blow cool air on the animal
  4. Play with your animal during cooler times of the day
  5. Always provide cool water
  6. Always provide shade
  7. Never leave a pet unattended in the car
heatstroke prevention in pets
Keep cool this summer and make sure your pet avoid any strenuous activities that could lead to heatstroke. – Credit: Emma Widmar

Fun with your dog

Once the weather is suitable for your pet to be outside, explore and make up lost time at the dog parks in Racine County.


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