SEATTLE — Some veterinarians in western Washington say they've seen a surge in dogs suffering from heat stroke during this week's record-breaking high temperatures.
Breeds that have a flat nose, like bulldogs, boxers and pugs have been struggling the most.
"We were getting in pets that were dead one arrival every hour," said Dr. Kristen Davignon, a veterinarian in the Puget Sound region. "Most of them were suspected heat stroke patients since their temperatures were well above normal and in the heat stroke range. It was just kind of horrifying to have them come in, clearly past the point of us being able to help them."
Just like humans, dogs and cats can overheat and even sunburn. But unlike people, dogs and cats do not sweat. They cool themselves by rapid breathing. When it's hot for us, it's even hotter for them.
Protect your pets from the heat by making sure they always have plenty of fresh water.
Car interiors heat quickly, even with the windows open. If your pets can't go inside every stop with you, leave them home. Too much heat can be extremely dangerous and sometimes fatal.
Heatstroke is an emergency. Signs include heavy panting, agitation, glazed eyes, rapid pulse, staggering, vomiting and a deep red or purple tongue.
If an animal is overheated, place it in a cool place and apply cool (not cold) water all over its body. Apply ice packs or cold towels only to the head, neck and chest. Let it drink small amounts of cool water or lick ice cubes and go immediately to a veterinarian. DO NOT wait to see if your pet improves - it's always better to be safe than sorry.
For more tips on how to protect your pet from the heat, click here.