If you catch your pet’s heat stress early (in the panting and restless stage), the most obvious remedy is to move him to a cooler location and provide lots of cool water to drink. At this stage, your pet will likely be fine, though you should continue to watch him to make sure he’s cooling down and not displaying any other signs of stress. Anything more than panting and restlessness needs more extensive first aid and immediate veterinary attention.
If you didn’t catch the heat stress early, you can wet your dog or cat with lukewarm water and increase air flow around him to help bring down his body temperature while (or immediately before) transporting him to the veterinarian. Don’t ever use very cold water in these situations – cooling your pet too quickly will make things worse and cause other complications! Placing towels soaked in cool/lukewarm water on your pet, particularly between his legs and across his neck, will also help.
Don’t let your first aid delay getting your pet to the doctor, though. Heatstroke can be life-threatening – causing organ failure, brain swelling, blood clotting disorders, and more – so it’s very important to get your pet medical attention immediately. While pets that are quickly treated can recover, prolonged or severe heat stress can have long-term consequences that need to be evaluated by a veterinarian.
Hopefully, we all know that preventing heat stress, whether it leads to heat exhaustion or heatstroke, is far better than having to treat it. The best ways to do that include making sure your pet has shaded, cool places to retreat to during the summer, plentiful cool water to drink, and isn’t encouraged to overdo it during the hottest times of day. Also, leaving your pets at home when you go out makes it impossible to accidentally leave them in hot cars! If all your best efforts fail, though, remember that we’re here to help