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Summer Heat and Dog Health

Summer Heat and Dog Health

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)
  • Staggering
  • 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?
  • Depression
  • Dry mouth
  • Lethargy

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!

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