Summer is finally here and with the warm weather firmly established, we spend more and more time outside. But we often forget that our beloved pets suffer from the heat as much as us humans, maybe even more so. That’s why it’s essential that our furbabies have a stable body temperature all through summer.
Understanding how pets cool their body temperature
Pet are not well equipped like humans to stay cool in hot temperatures because they don’t have the ability to sweat like humans do. And even though their fur plays the role of a thermal regulator by slowing down the heat absorption process, in exceedingly hot weather this is not enough.
Usually, we lower our body temperature through sweat and since we do it for our entire body, it’s very effective. Unlike humans, dogs and cats don’t sweat to cool themselves down.
A common misconception
“A common misconception is that cats and dogs sweat through their paws, but, any secretions there or from their nose, mouth or tongue are not for sweating; they’re for protection and moisture and are insufficient to cool the blood.”
Luckily, pets can release excess heat in other ways, and that’s when panting comes into play. They have to rely on panting to be able to regulate their body temperature.
How does panting work
Known as homeotherms, the ability to adjust internal heat gain or heat loss to maintain a regular body temperature, dogs and cats use panting to keep their body temperature around 101.5° F. Although more common in dogs than cats, panting is your pet’s way of cooling down just as sweating is for humans.
When your pet becomes overheated, his brain sends signals throughout their body to activate a cooling process. His heart rate increases and the lungs work harder to help enter a higher level of oxygen. As your pet hangs out his tongue and begins to pant, he breathes more and more quickly.
This rapid breathing is also quite shallow and only uses the upper part of the respiratory system. It causes the air to move back and forth in and out of your pet’s mouth very rapidly which imitates the human body’s evaporative cooling system.
Not long ago, somebody sent me this infographic below, and I thought it was very interesting, so I decided to share it with you. Created by the team at Cast Iron Radiators 4u, this guide shows us how to keep pets cool in the summer, how to recognize the signs of heatstroke as well as how to treat a heatstroke.
As a bonus, there is also a whole section on how to keep pets warm in the winter, how to recognize the signs of hypothermia and how to treat hypothermia. I know it’s a little early to talk about hypothermia, but I thought that the part about heatstroke was too important and well-made to pass up.
There’s even a temperature guide to learn the different temperatures in human, dog and cat. It’s divided in three sections:
- The core body temperature
- Heat: Fever/heatstroke and fatal core body temperature
- Cold: Hypothermia onset and fatal core body temperature
Click on infographic to enlarge
|Cool Cats and Hot Dogs by Cast Iron Radiators 4u|
As a dog parent, I know the importance of keeping my dog’s body temperature stable and avoiding any signs of heatstroke. When you enjoy a beautiful summer day around the pool or at the beach, it can be very easy to lose track of time and overlook the signs of overheating.
Our precious furbabies depend on us to keep them safe. Please take the necessary precautions to ensure their safety. That’s why this infographic can be extremely helpful.
Over to you
What do you think of this guide to help your pets stay cool this summer? Do you know other tips that aren’t in the infographic? Please, feel free to share your thoughts and advice in the comment box below!