During the summer months dogs can overheat, but there are ways to keep your pooch cool, happy and healthy.
- If you are worried your dog may have heat-stroke look for these signs
- Heatstroke in dogs: know the signs
- Raised temperature (101.5° is normal)
- Rapid breathing and panting
- Excess salivation and thickened saliva
- Fatigue or depression
- Muscle tremors
If you spot these signs, get your dog inside and contact your vet, then do the following:
Wrap your dog in cold wet towels, especially the underarm/belly/groin area. A fan may be used on the dog during the cooling process.
Check your dog’s temperature every five minutes and end the cooling treatment when the temperature is down to 103°. Avoid cooling too rapidly to avoid shock. Allow access to cool water, but don’t force your dog to drink. Your vet may push IV fluids if dehydration is a concern.
Tips to Stay Cool & Avoid Heatstroke During the Dog Days of Summer:
- Offer an ice pack or wet towel to lay on.
- Add ice cubes to the water dish.
- Offer access to a wading pool with shallow, cool water.
- Offer access to cool shade by stringing up a tarp, cloth, or use a shade screen.
- Bring a collapsible water dish on your walks.
- Replace a portion of their regular diet with canned food.
- Avoid walking on hot pavement, and consider booties to insulate their toes.
- Early morning or evening playtimes, exercise, and walks are best.
- Give your dog some homemade frozen treats.
Dehydration in dogs: know the signs
- Sunken eyes
- Dry mouth
If you see these signs gently pinch a fold of skin at the top of the neck. Is it slow to snap back?
Not all signs of dehydration are easy to detect. If you suspect your dog may be dehydrated, a trip to the vet is recommended.
Offer clean cool water. Try different bowls, adding a splash of carrot juice, chicken broth, or pieces of a favorite fruit to one of the bowls to encourage drinking. Some dogs enjoy a few ice chips in their water dish.
To shave or not to shave?
If your furry friend has a double coat like mastiffs, spitz, or terrier types, you may be tempted to simply shave off all that fuzz in hopes of keeping them cool. Before you break out the razor, you should know there can be several drawbacks to this solution, including a sudden lack of insulation and decreased sun protection.
Additionally, because longer guard hairs have a different growth cycle than inner insulation hairs, it can take years for some dogs to regain their natural appearance.