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.
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:
Quick short breaths
Lethargic and sleepy
Falling unconscious or fitting
Ears/feet abnormally hot to the touch
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!
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 can offer comprehensive cover for your small mammal.