Stolley Park
Veterinary Hospital

3020 W. Stolley Park Road  Grand Island, Nebraska  68801  
Phone:  308-384-6272   Fax:  308-384-0984

August Newsletter

Have you ever noticed that August is a month that is sadly lacking in holidays? There are many months that have specific animal focus (National Heartworm Month, Dental Month, National Chicken Month), but not only is August lacking in people holidays, there is a shortage of attention for our animal friends. So in these “dog days” of summer, we declare August to be Heat Awareness Month.

We’ve discussed “heat stroke” before in our newsletter, but it is such an important topic that we feel it’s worth discussing again. Nebraska weather is unpredictable and can fluctuate from cool and bearable to hot and humid in a few hours’ time. This is especially to keep in mind if you leave your dog outside all day.

More helpful hints (August 2010 revisited):

Change your pet’s water often. If they are housed outdoors, it should be changed as often as three times a day. Fresh water also limits the breeding ground for mosquitoes.

Provide shade. Whether your pet lives outside or is a pampered pooch taking a stroll, make sure they can get out of the sun’s direct rays if they need to. If your animal has a dark coat or long hair, you may want to pay extra attention to this.

Try to limit strenuous activity during the hottest parts of the day. Especially if your pet is not used to a lot of aerobic exercise even at a normal temperature.

Last but not least, DO NOT LEAVE YOUR PET IN THE CAR. Even with the windows open, this time of year a vehicle can get as much as 20 degrees hotter than ambient temperature. Heat stroke (hyperthermia) can occur very quickly!

Signs of heat stroke:

The most prevalent sign of heat stroke is an elevated temperature. Over 104 is considered hyperthermic, and over 106 is a very serious emergency. Dogs with hyperthermia may pant vigorously and loudly, may be difficult to rouse from a lying position, or even collapse as if dizzy. Their gums may be dry or dark red, and they may vomit or have diarrhea. Death is possible or even likely if hyperthermia is severe enough.

What to do:

If you suspect heat stroke, contact a veterinarian immediately. Move your dog to a cooler facility. You can try to reduce temperature, but be careful with ice or very cold water, as this can reduce surface temperature without reducing core temperature.
Prevention is the best medicine. Enjoy your summer, but remember to protect your four-legged family member with common sense and a cool bowl of water. A dip in the wading pool couldn’t hurt either!