Keeping cool through the dog days of summer! Plus heat health issues to look for.
If you see the mercury rising, here are some tips to keep your canine cool:
- 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.
Heatstroke in dogs: know the signs
- Raised temperature (101.5° is normal)
- Muscle tremors
- Fatigue or depression
- Excess salivation and thickened saliva
- Rapid breathing and panting
If you spot these signs, get your dog inside and contact your vet.
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.
Dehydration in dogs: know the signs
- Sunken eyes
- Gently pinch a fold of skin at the top of the neck. Is it slow to snap back?
- Dry mouth
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 also enjoy a few ice chips in their water dish!