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Friday, August 10 2012 Summer can be incredibly fun for the whole family! However, as the temperature increases, so does your pet’s risk for developing hyperthermia, or what is commonly referred to as heat stroke. Here are some tips and information to ensure that your pets enjoy the summer months just as much as you. Heat stroke commonly occurs when dogs are left in hot vehicles with inadequate ventilation, but may also occur when an animal is left outside without proper shade or exercised in hot weather. Even on a relatively cool day, temperatures inside a vehicle may increase to 110-120 degrees Fahrenheit within one hour regardless of outside temperature. Obesity and/or any condition that affects a pet’s breathing capabilities, increases an animal’s likelihood of developing heat stroke. When hyperthermia occurs a pet may initially pant, become restless, and/or appear distressed. As hyperthermia progresses, pets may drool excessively, become lethargic or unsteady on their feet, and may even have blue/purple or bright red coloration on their gums due to inadequate oxygen levels within their system. If your pet is suffering from hyperthermia remove them immediately from the environment in which it occurred and take them to a veterinary facility. Wet towels may be placed on your pet’s armpits, groin region, and the back of their neck. Ear flaps and paws may also be wetted with room temperature to slightly cool water. DO NOT apply ice, ice packs, or cold water to your animal as this can actually cause more harm than good. It is extremely important to transport a pet suffering from heat stroke to a veterinarian as quickly as possible. Severe hyperthermia affects nearly every system in the body and simply lowering the body temperature does not address the potentially devastating effects that accompany this disorder. We hope you find these tips helpful and that you and your pets can beat the heat together!