Monday, August 9, 2010

Cooling Your Dog Off

The familiar sight of panting dogs
The summer months are here and they have been brutally hot. How are the dogs holding up?
There are many misconceptions about dogs, but most people know dogs use panting as a way to cool themselves. Humans sweat; dogs pant. Both use evaporation as a way to rid the body of excess heat.
Heat stroke in dogs can happen suddenly and is extremely dangerous. Staggering or vomiting are signals that your dog needs cooling immediately. Hosing them down, ice packs, or possibly a rush to the animal hospital.
Dogs most at risk: Brachycephalic breeds (short-faced, e.g. bulldogs or boxers), dark-colored dogs, very young or very old dogs, and over-weight dogs.
Stay in the shade as much as possible when outside and have a good water supply available when your dog is hot. The colder the water, the more quickly it will lower your dog's temperature. Adding ice to the waterbowl is efficient; the dog doesn't have to drink as much to cool off. If they drink a ton of water to cool off, you have to take them out in the heat to relieve themselves quite soon after...a vicious cycle.

Adding ice to the water bowl is a great trick

Sophie examines the floating objects before taking a drink