Alert: Heatstroke is a threat for pets and livestock, tips for owners

July 18, 2019

For more information contact: Jim Britt at (207) 480-0558

Owner Tips to Avoid Heat Exhaustion and Heat Stroke

Due to forecasted high temperatures this weekend the Maine Animal Welfare Program is reminding pet and livestock owners to take extra steps to protect animals from exposure to extreme heat. Owners should keep their pet at home in the shade, air conditioning, or a cool basement. If you have livestock, make sure they have plenty of shade and water.

Tips for pet owners

  • Never leave an animal in a parked vehicle, even for a few minutes- Even with windows open a few inches, the temperature in a parked car may hit 120 Fahrenheit within minutes
  • When running errands, leave your dog home
  • When traveling, stop at places where your pet can get out of the vehicle
  • Provide fresh, cool drinking water at all times - including in your vehicle when you are traveling
  • Outdoor kennels must be well-ventilated and shaded, with water in bowls that will not tip
  • Do not exercise pets on hot days or warm, humid nights
  • Clip long coats to about an inch shorter clips or shaving can leave dogs vulnerable to sunburn

Tips for livestock owners

  • Avoid transporting animals in heat over 80 Fahrenheit with high humidity.
  • Park vehicles loaded with livestock in the shade
  • Deliver animals at night or in the early morning
  • Provide well-ventilated air space in farm trucks, barns, or any enclosure
  • Provide fresh drinking water at all times, and provide shade in resting, eating, and watering areas
  • Use a water sprinkling system to cool animals

Heatstroke is a threat for both pets and livestock and can be fatal even with prompt treatment. Animals that are more susceptible include: those that have already suffered heat stroke; young and very old; have health problems; are overweight; and snub-nosed. Signs of heatstroke in small animals include excessive panting, staring or stupor, breathing difficulty, an anxious expression, refusal to obey, warm dry skin, fever, rapid heartbeat, vomiting, diarrhea, seizures, and collapse. In large animals, signs of heat stress and stroke may include restlessness, stumbling, increased heart rate, and salivation, panting, collapse, and convulsions. If you see any of these signs, immediately call your veterinarian.

About Maine Animal Welfare Maine Animal Welfare Program ensures humane and proper treatment of animals by developing, implementing and administering a comprehensive program that upholds the animal welfare laws of Maine through communication, education and enforcement. Animal Welfare is part of the Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry, Bureau of Agriculture. Learn more

To Report Animal Cruelty or Neglect During normal business hours (Mon to Fri, 8 am to 4:30 pm) call (207) 287-3846 or (877) 269-9200, or email: animal.welfare@maine.gov. For emergencies outside of normal business hours: Call the Bangor Barracks of the State Police at (207) 973-3700.