How to Quickly Cool Your Dog Down
Like every other mammal, dogs can overheat. When your dog heats up, you need to act quickly to cool him down. Don’t panic, here’s how to do it
You aren’t the only one who has a hard time dealing with blistering summer heat. Your favorite pooch can also be rather sensitive to that excess warmth. In fact, summer can be a dangerous time for your doggo if you aren’t careful. Heat stroke is an incredibly dangerous (often even fatal) condition that affects dogs of all shapes, sizes, and ages throughout the summer months. There is one common instance of this problem that is widely discussed. You have probably already learned about the dangers of leaving your dog in a hot car with the windows rolled up. However, heat stroke can occur at any time if your dog does not have proper access to shade or water. Sadly, it’s all too easy for many dog owners to ignore the signs that their pup is suffering through the summer. This article will offer you some helpful tips on what to do if you suspect your dog is suffering from heat stroke.
Signs That Your Dog Is Overheating
It is normal for your dog to be panting on a hot summer day, but if you aren’t careful your dog can quickly escalate from feeling a little bit warm to suffering from the initial stages of heat stroke. Some of the signs of heat stroke to keep an eye out for include:
- Excessive panting
- Rapid heart rate
- Excessive salivation/drooling
- Pale or gray gums
- Weakness or confusion
If you notice your dog exhibiting any of these signs, it is essential that you take immediate action to cool him down. Dogs that do not receive prompt treatment for heat stroke can quickly progress to seizures, coma or even cardiac arrest. It’s not an exaggeration to say that this can even cause death in a matter of minutes. This is no joke. Heat stroke is a huge risk in many canines.
Some Ways to Cool Your Dog Down
While cooling your dog down is very important if he is suffering from heat stroke, you do need to be careful about doing it too quickly. Sure, it’s important to monitor these things, but it’s also important not to overreact and cause your dog any unnecessary distress. You should not, for example, dump your dog into a tub of ice water because this could cause the capillaries in his skin to constrict and that will prevent the cooling of his internal organs. Beyond those scientific facts, it’s also just not nice and the Ice Bucket Challenge is so 2014. Instead, you should try one of the following methods:
Wet Towel: Soak a towel in cool water and drape it over your dog’s body to cool him slowly. If your dog is very small, it is recommended that you use lukewarm rather than cold water to avoid cooling him too quickly. Little pups are more sensitive than big boys after all.
Air Conditioning/Fan: If your dog is in the very beginning stages of heat stroke, moving him indoors to an air conditioned area or placing a fan in front of him may be enough to cool him down. It is also recommended that you let your dog lie on a cool surface such as tile or wood floors rather than carpet to speed up the cool down process.
Pool of Water: The only place dogs are capable of sweating is through the pads of their feet, so having your dog stand in a pool or bathtub filled with a few inches of cool water can help to cool him down. Remember, the water should be lukewarm or cool, never cold (and do not use ice cubes to cool the water or it will become far too cold). You need to be sensitive to your pup’s needs and don’t want to cause a whole new set of temperature related problems.
Drinking Water: While you are using one of the methods outlined above to cool your dog down, you should also give him fresh water to drink. Though ice water is not inherently dangerous for dogs, it is best to avoid it in situations where heat stroke is a factor because you don’t want to cool your dog down too quickly. It is also important that you make sure your dog doesn’t drink the water too fast or he could swallow air which will contribute to bloat. Try to ease them back down by gently drinking some water.
While cooling your dog down, it is also a good idea to monitor his body temperature with a thermometer, which you should have to monitor his health in general. Once your doggy’s temperature returns to 103°F, you do not need to cool him down any further. In fact, it is a good idea to dry off your dog off at this point and even cover him up to ensure that he doesn’t continue to lose body heat. You should also take your dog to see the veterinarian as soon as possible after a heat stroke incident to ensure that no internal damage has occurred and that there are no further complications. It’s amazing how quickly heat stroke can lead to other even more substantial health problems in dogs.
How to Prevent Heat Stroke in Dogs
Knowing what to do when your dog is suffering from heat stroke is great, but wouldn’t it be even better to never have to deal with this problem in the first place? That’s where prevention of heat stroke in dogs comes into play. By knowing how to prevent this problem, you can take steps to keep your dog happy and healthy, regardless of the temperature outside. It’s always better to avoid these sorts of issues rather than struggling to cure them.
Thankfully, it isn’t too hard to prevent heat stroke in dogs. In fact, a few common sense measures can go a long way to keeping your doggy happy during the summer heat. For example, if it’s hot and humid outside, you don’t want to force your dog to spend too much time out there. You also certainly shouldn’t leave him alone outdoors for long periods of time. Let him stay inside the house where it’s cool and where he can be comfortable with the rest of the family.
Sure, just like on any other day you’ll want your pupper to get in some outdoor activity (such as going for a walk or even playing in the yard). That’s vital to get in your dog’s exercise requirements in for the day and of course, to let him go to the bathroom. So, don’t lock your dog up during a particularly hot day, just reduce the amount of time he spends in the heat and humidity. This will go a long way towards preventing your pooch from overheating. Also, while your dog is outside, make sure that he has access to water and shade at all times. Check his behaviour and note if he’s starting to feel too hot and uncomfortable. Dogs should not be left unsupervised during extreme summer heat. It’s simply too dangerous.
A wonderful way to get your pup to enjoy some physical activity on hot days while still reducing the odds of heat stroke is swimming. That is, if your dog likes to swim of course. If he doesn’t like swimming, there are other ways to play in the water. For example, you could fill a kiddie pool with some water for your dog to splash around in. Or, you could let your dog run through the sprinkler in your yard. Dogs love this sort of thing and it’s good for them on hot days as well.
When it’s really hot or humid out, reducing the time that you usually take your dog for a walk can be quite helpful for both of you. After all, you don’t want to be sweating in the heat either, right? Getting your dog’s walks in during the early morning hours or after the sun goes down can be a good way to limit the amount of time that he spends in the sunshine while also reducing the odds of the pupper overheating. No matter what, on hot days, it might be best to limit yourselves to a brisk walk, rather than a jog or a run. Moving around too fast can also cause odds of overheating and dehydration to skyrocket out of control. It’s also important to always bring some water with on warm days you that so your fur baby can drink whenever he feels the need. This can be extremely helpful in keeping him hydrated and is always worth considering.
Finally, it goes without saying that an animal should never be left alone in a car with the windows up, even on mild days when you think the temperature isn’t that hot. The inside of the vehicle can become extremely hot and stifling in no time. There’s a reason that this is now considered animal abuse. There’s absolutely no excuse for ever leaving a dog unattended in a car with the windows up and hopefully no dog owner will ever be negligent enough to make this mistake again.
So, there you have it. A few helpful hints to cool your dog down and prevent heat stroke before it takes hold. The summer is an excellent time to play with your doggy outdoors, so don’t consider the risk of heatstroke a reason to avoid all outdoor activity. That’s absurd. However, it is a risk that all responsible dog owners should keep in mind. As you can see, there are many ways to avoid the risk of doggy heat stroke and we’re certain that we didn’t name them all. Do you have any ways of cooling down your dog that we left out? Please leave your hints and tips in the comment section below so that our readers can benefit from your tips too!