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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