12800 Wayzata Blvd

Minnetonka, MN 55305

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How Hot Is Too Hot For Your Pet?


Summer in Minnesota is worth the long cold winters! We are lucky to be living in the land of 10,000 lakes for Minnesotans and their pets to cool off in the hot summer sun. Unfortunately, our pets struggle with the hot humid weather even more than their humans.  If our pets overheat, they can develop hyperthermia or heatstroke. This can be a life-threatening condition and does require immediate treatment.

Heat stroke/hyperthermia generally occurs in hot summer weather when dogs specifically are left with inadequate ventila- tion in hot vehicles.  Studies show that on even a relatively cool day (70 F) the temperature in a car can climb to well over 100 F within one hour. Heatstroke may also occur in other conditions. When a pet is left outdoors, it should be for short periods and there should be adequate shade and water. Pets should also be exercised in the early morning hours or late evening hours to minimize the heat of the day.

Other predisposing factors that can cause heat stroke, includes being overweight or being a brachycephalic (short nosed) breed.

Heat stroke can come on quickly, and it is necessary to be able to recognize the signs. Your pet may pant excessively and become restless, they may drool and become weak and lethargic.  You may also notice that their gums become bright red or potentially purple in color.

If any of these symptoms are noted, immediately remove your pet from the environment and move them to a cool and shaded area. If it is possible, obtain a rectal temperature with a thermometer. Most pets with hyperthermia have an internal body temperature greater than 104 °F. Most dogs’ normal body temperatures range from (99-102.5° F). Cool your pet by placing cool, wet towels over the dog, focusing on the armpits and the groin region. You may also wet their ear flaps and paws with cool water.  Bring your pet to your veterinarian immediately.

Lastly, if you spot a dog in a hot parked car, call your local law enforcement agency!

Have a safe, cool and enjoyable summer!