Best Ways to Cool Down your Dog
Take a chill pill – This is what we usually hear when we feel angry or hot. And sometimes it is literally meant to give a person a chilling beverage that can help a person cool down. A dessert safari or a long beach day and we go for a chilled beer as soon as possible. Now imagine the same thing happening to a dog. A long walk in the hot sun or a rigorous training session for your dog, but the only difference is that the dog can’t walk up to the fridge and grab a bottle of chilled beer for a quick relief. Doesn’t mean that the dog doesn’t need its nerves to calm down and the body temperature to cool down.
How to tell if a Dog is feeling Hot?
Unlike humans, dogs don’t sweat. So, there are no such clear signs that can tell us that the dog is feeling hot. We need to understand the way dogs communicate. As a dog’s temperature rises, blood rushes to the surfaces of the tongue, gums, and membranes to help transfer excess heat. Dogs usually show signs to tell us they are hot. These include –
Bright red membranes
Difficulty in breathing
When to get worried for the Dog feeling Hot?
During conditions where the dog is feeling hot, the temperature can rise up to 106 Degrees Fahrenheits. If this happens, the dog’s body no longer will be able to cool itself down. The dog may try to grasp more air to meet the oxygen demands in the body and there are chances that the entire mouth might turn grayish to purple. Getting hot also causes dehydration and the saliva starts to thicken. Vomiting and diarrhea may be further effects. After some time the dog may feel unable to stand, may experience comatose, have a seizure or even die. In such cases, even if you succeed in cooling the dog, rush immediately to the hospital despite the dog acting normal as the organs inside may have damaged from inside. There are chances of death even after being cooled down after seeming normal. Here are some of the summer tips for dogs.
How to avoid over-heating in your Dog?
Fresh Water and shade – Ensure that your dog has fresh water available all the time and is kept in shade most of the times.
Have shorter sessions outside rather than 1 big session in hot weather
Use a variety of cooling products which are recommended by your vet
Don’t leave your dog in the car – Even on a cool day (the mid-60s), the temperature in a closed car rises to 130 degrees Fahrenheit in minutes. The dog’s own body temperature increases the heat and moisture (especially for larger breeds), the oxygen is used up, and death can occur within 15 minutes. So irrespective of windows open or shut, do not leave him/her for long.
Acclimatize – Get your dog familiar to hot weather gradually and don’t exert him on hot, humid days. Even sporting dogs and water trained dogs can overheat in warm waters
Stay cool – Make sure your home is air conditioned on warm days. Dogs have been lost when air conditioners or power failed unbeknown to the owners. Keep checking on the temperature in your house, van, etc.
Ventilate – Just like in cars, do not keep dogs in inadequately ventilated areas during warm, stagnant air under tents.
Be Vigilant – Especially with hairdryers and cage dryers.
Double coat ≠ Double protection from heat – Although a dog’s coat can provide insulation, double coats make a dog more vulnerable to overheating. Especially the dark colored coats are more susceptible as they capture more heat. So make sure an additional care is taken for such dogs
Make sure you contact your veterinarian and your dog’s breed and ask about heat sensitivity in them
How to Cool Down your Dog when Over-heated?
The best way is of course to avoid over-heating in the first place. But a lot of things in life cannot be avoided and so is over-heating in dogs. When found over-heated or with any of the above-mentioned symptoms, below are some quick techniques to provide instant relief and limit the symptoms to avoid severe damage –
Move the dog immediately to a covered or shaded area
Keep them calm and avoid making them walk or run
Put them on top of a cool wet towel, cooling mat or place them in the breeze of a fan
Provide some water. Even small sips of cold water would be okay
Pour some cold water over dog’s feet, ears and head
Pour the water gradually over the entire body but not till the point that they start shivering
If you look at all these methods, they are nothing but everything our beautiful mothers would teach us or do to us when we feel very hot. So, another point is to always listen to moms. They are the best.
Cautions while trying to cool your dog down
Not to use ice or extremely cold water as they can cause shocks to a dog
Be careful while allowing your dog to swim, especially when the water is warm
And during swim sessions, be aware of algae or bacteria. Contact with them can make your dog sick
Regularly groom your dog and especially its coat. A clean, knot free coat also helps in keeping the body cool
Maintain a good diet and exercise routine. A healthy body is always less prone to diseases. This goes for you the dog parent as well. Only a healthy dog parent can take very good care of the dog
During warm summers, use toys or games with treats attached rather than taking him/her for walks to utilize the energy
I’m sure you love those chilled popsicles or icicles on a hot summer day. Guess what? So will your dog. If your dog doesn’t like fruit flavors consider making frozen bars with plain water and a touch of beef bouillon.
Although it is completely normal for your dog to feel hot, over-heating can be dangerous at times and even fatal. Keep looking for signs. Keep him/her healthy. Take precautions. And enjoy the company of your healthy dog.
Happy Mood and Health to your Doggo and lots of Love and Licks to you!
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