Steps to handle heat exhaustion in Austin

the H is O. so now what?

June is hot, hot, hot and its only the beginning so use this month to perfect your prevention of hot dogs!

By now we all SHOULD know that you can’t leave your windows closed… CAN’T CAN’T CAN’T CAN’T CAN’T CAN’T CAN’T leave your windows closed. If you are going to go ANYWHERE, and you think you have to run inside for even one minute, make sure to have your pet completely secured in the car so it does not jump or lunge at the window. If not, you will be forced to close the windows and you just CAN’T. Remember? This is rule #1 and you would be surprised at how often it is broken.

Next most common place for heat stroke…. ZILKER PARK! I save at least one dog a summer at Zilker. Best case if you go in the middle of the day? DO NOT RUN YOUR DOG. If you do, even for 10 minutes, the relative humidity and heat index can crush your dog’s breathing pattern and make it near impossible to dissipate the heat. So find shade and stay in it. Always have water available and if you think you might run your dog too hard, you can certainly cool them off with water. Some vets will disagree that you can drop core temperature too quick but the truth is- most of those vets will do the same thing if you rush into a clinic although with slightly better control.

If its an ALL OUT emergency and you cannot get to the vet- here is something you can attempt in a pinch to drop surface temp. Apply 70 or 90% rubbing alcohol on bottom of the paws and lightly on the outer ear. It will help evaporate some of the heat off quicker and then you can cool with water until you can get to vet. Remember, this is surface temp only and the core temp is also elevated. In a SUPER PINCH and still at Zilker… find some Vodka. Apply it liberally on surface area like alcohol to start cooling process but again, get to a veterinary office quickly.

How can I get core temp down?

Well… it’s a must you get to a vet to make sure you have minimal organ damage but one of the treatments will be I.V. fluids. These are fluids that must be given through an I.V. catheter (intravenous) as opposed to Subcutaneous fluids which many pet owners are familiar with using on dehydrated animals. Once your pet is stabilized- the doctor may opt for blood pressure medications, shock meds or other therapies to keep the body stable.


Symptoms of overheating in pets include excessive panting or difficulty breathing, increased heart and respiratory rate, drooling, mild weakness, stupor or even collapse. They can also include seizures, bloody diarrhea and vomit along with an elevated body temperature of over 104 degrees. Animals with flat faces, like Pugs, Bulldogs and Persian cats, are more susceptible to heat stroke since they cannot pant as effectively. These pets, along with the elderly, the overweight, and those with heart or lung diseases, should be kept cool in air-conditioned rooms as much as possible.

Don’t forget, there is no real reason to run a dog or even a cat in the middle of the day during the summer time, so be smart about it. Take this moment to get up early and get out before 10am and have a nice walk around the hood or wait till after 7 in the evening when the heat index is down. Stay smart because the sun is real and its that time of year we are REAL close to it! Hydrate, Hydrate, Hydrate and until next time… Adios!

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