How to spot and prevent heatstroke in small mammals

How to spot and prevent heatstroke in small mammals

What is heatstroke?

Heatstroke, also known as hyperthermia or heat exhaustion, is a serious illness which happens when your pet or an animal overheats, and their body temperature rises. This is an emergency situation which needs treatment right away.

Signs of heatstroke

It is really important to know the early signs of heatstroke before it worsens, so you can get help as soon as possible. The signs to watch out for in small mammals are:

  • Drooling
  • Quick short breaths
  • Lethargic and sleepy
  • Falling unconscious or fitting
  • Ears/feet abnormally hot to the touch

How to prevent heatstroke

Heatstroke is one of the biggest pet killers in the summer. However, heatstroke can be avoided! Because small mammals are.. well, small, they can be very sensitive to heatwaves as they can’t regulate their body temperature as well as humans. We have some simple, yet affective, steps below to keep your small mammals cool in the heat:

  • Keep them out of the sun/direct sunlight, and give them a shady/hiding area
  • Freeze water in empty & clean water bottles/plastic bottles, wrap them in a t-shirt or towel and place one or two in their cage (make sure your pet isn’t chewing up and ingesting the plastic of the bottle though!). Or leave it right outside of their cage.
  • Cool and airy room, but no draughts
  • Access to plenty of clean and fresh water
  • Fruit and vegetable treats are perfect for hot summer days, they give your pet an extra bit of water and you can even pop them in the fridge beforehand!

What to do if you suspect your pet has heatstroke

If your small mammal is showing any of the above signs get them to a cooler location immediately and pour small amounts of cool water on them (DO NOT rapidly cool them down or use ice water as this can cause them to go into shock) and get to your vet as soon as possible.

British Pet Insurance Services offers a range of exotic pet cover levels, insuring; lizards, snakes, tortoises, parrots, birds of prey and small mammals. With up to £5,000 vet fees and a range of optional extras, select the level of cover to suit your needs.

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