Excerpted from Dr. Andrew Jones:
Most of North America is in a HEAT WAVE, so you really should be aware of How to Keep your pet safe in the heat.
1. AVOID the car- never leave your pet in one. The temperature can rise to dangerous levels within 10 minutes- EVEN if the windows are open. In practice I have seen heatstroke develop in 15 minutes, especially with the brachycephalic breeds (pushed in faces)
2. Keep your pet HYDRATED and in the shade. Much the same as us, especially during the peak sun hours. Provide plenty of fresh cool water, and if you have air conditioning, get your pet in it.
3. AVOID strenuous exercise during the HOT sunny hours. Try and do your dog walking early morning or late at night. Both of my dogs, Lewis and Jessie literally stop moving in the heat!
4. STAY off the HOT road- I have had dogs in the past with damaged paws from sun heated asphalt. IF it is too hot for you to walk on it with bare feet, then it is TOO hot for your dog.
5. OFFER FROZEN TREATS - I often freeze a Kong filled with peanut butter. I have made frozen yummy Ultimate Canine 'dogsicles' which my dogs LOVE.
6. There are specific products that you can get to keep your pet cool- such as long lasting KOOL vests, although I find plain old common sense is a BETTER way to go...if your dog gets too HOT offer cold water, shade, and air conditioning.
7. SIGNS OF HEAT STROKE - The signs depend upon the extent of heat stroke. In the early stages, your pet will pant rapidly, have thick, ropey saliva, and have bright red gums. His body temperature will be between 104-106°F.
As the body temperature climbs above 106°F, your pet will go into shock with subsequent organ shutdown.
He will have pale gums, be weak and dizzy, with vomiting and diarrhea. The brain becomes affected and he may seizure or fall into a coma. In this case, he requires immediate, life-saving veterinary intervention.
The normal body temperature of a dog or cat ranges between 38 - 39°C or 103°F. Our pets maintain this temperature through panting, however sometimes they are unable to lose enough heat. Dogs and cats probably do suffer from heat cramps and heat exhaustion like us humans but the symptoms are mild and we don't recognize them. The condition that we see is heatstroke, and it may cause the death of a pet.
8. TO THE VET ASAP. If you suspect severe heatstroke and your pet has collapsed, get your pet immediate veterinary care. In this case, the organs may be shutting down and he needs specialized care to survive. While in transit it is important to continue to apply cool wet towels to the back of the neck and groin area.
9. WHAT'S THE TEMP? Use a rectal thermometer and find your pet's exact temperature: if it is 104°F or higher, he has heatstroke, and you need to take action.
10. COOL DOWN. Run cold water over the back of your pet's head. Place cold packs wrapped in towels between the back legs, on the belly and in the armpits. Wet towels can be used instead. You can use a garden hose to run the water over the back of his head.