Sadly, I had a client’s puppy pass away over the weekend. She is a very responsible pet owner, making sure her puppy had plenty of water while she was away at work. When she returned her dog wasn’t acting right so she immediately rushed him to the vet where he had a temperature of 107! He spent the night at the vet hospital where he was given fluids but, sadly, he didn’t make it.
I have seen this happen more than once with clients’ dogs during the hot summer months. It is very important to provide your dog with a cool, shady place to get out of the heat during the day. If you have a dog that can stay inside while you are gone, then a doggy door works great so that your dog can still go outside to potty but can remain indoors where it is oftentimes cooler. Also, make sure your pet has plenty of fresh water during the day.
If you do come home and find your pet overheated, one thing you can do immediately is cool him down by splashing cool water over the belly area. Major blood vessels run along this area, so the quickest way to cool your pet down is by cooling down this area with water. Pouring water of your pet’s back just runs off and doesn’t provide the cooling effect to the major vessels that is needed.
During the hottest months and in the middle of the day, make sure you take plenty of water for your pet while going on walks or hikes. Since your dog has that extra layer of fur, it is easy for him to get hot quickly. If your dog starts to pant excessively, pour some water in your hand and run it underneath your dog to cool him down. If you can find a shady spot to stop and take a break, that will help too. If your pet still seems overheated, then get him to a vet immediately.
When it is hot I try to find places to take my dogs that include lakes, streams, canals, among others, so that my dogs can jump in the water if they get hot. Plus, swimming around and fetching sticks is also a great way to exercise your pet while still being able to keep him cooler.
Never leave your dog in a car during the summer months. It can be 10 degrees or more hotter for your dog inside of a car than it is for us. If you do have to leave your dog in the car, make sure the windows are open wide enough for your dog to get air, and leave a bowl of water inside the car as well.
Taking some simple precautions during the hot summer can literally mean the difference between life and death for your dog so take that extra time to make sure your dog will be comfortable and safe. They are, after all, worth it!