On hot days dogs will run themselves to exhaustion if allowed, so it’s crucial that dog owners understand the effect of heat on dogs, and owners must also understand how to treat the dog when he becomes overheated.
As you already know, dogs regulate their body temperature by panting, and if the dog’s respiratory system fails to reduce his temperature quickly enough he may suffer heat stroke. Signs of heatstroke in dogs include hyperventilation, excessive panting, dry pale gums, increased salivation, rapid pulse, weakness, diarrhea, vomiting, and confusion. If the dog’s temperature is not reduced quickly its breathing could be affected and seizures may occur, and eventually the dog could fall into a coma.
The normal body temperature for a dog is 101.5 degrees Fahrenheit with moderately increased temperatures of 103 to 106 degrees, and the danger zone beyond 106 degrees. Use a rectal thermometer to obtain your pet’s temperature and contact your vet’s emergency services for further instructions.
To help prevent overheating during the hot summer months make sure your pet has a cool shady spot to rest (a place with a cool breeze is best for your dog), and always provide more water than your dog would drink on any normal day.
Place a cool wet towel around your dog’s neck and under his front armpits, between his hind legs and belly area to reduce his core body temperature. Wetting the ears and paws with cool water is also recommended. And when working your dog near a stream or pond on a hot day it can be very helpful to let your dog cool himself in the water, and your dog will have a blast doing it.
Give your dog fresh cool drinking water. If your dog refuses to drink do not force water into his mouth because he may take it into his lungs, instead try wetting his tongue with water. Also remember that giving your dog ice when he is overheated can be dangerous because ice can cool his core body temperature too quickly resulting in a shock to his body that could cause a life threatening situation.
Never muzzle your dog when there is danger of overheating. Dogs lower their body temperature by panting and fitting him with a muzzle could inhibit his ability to pant.
Be aware that untreated heatstroke can lead to organ failure and death for your dog.
Heatstroke treatment is generally done by replacing lost fluids and minerals. Your vet will be able to confirm if additional treatment is necessary for more serious conditions like kidney and blood pressure issues. Dogs with thick fur, short noses and dogs suffering from obesity are predisposed to heatstroke.
Remember during exercise and playtime and when training your working dogs always monitor him for signs of overheating. Do this on normal days and hot days.
Keeping Cool with Fans
Remember that one of the easiest ways to help your dog stay cool is by placing him in a shady area with a slight breeze. This is where the crate fan comes in handy. In fact many field trial travelers have their crates set up with cooling fans while they are on the go with their dogs.
There are several types on crate fans available. Some fans run on batteries and others plug into your car’s power supply while still others plug into a 120v circuit.
Some crate fans couple with an ice pack to send cooler air to your dog and some are more versatile offering both cool air and heat. There are also sophisticated coolers with integrated misting systems like the Ocean Breeze Cooling System for permanent kennel installations.
Below is what field trialer Andy Purnell had to say about the very simple to use Crate Cooling Fan.
I do a lot of traveling to field trials with my hounds and often worry that the temperature in my Owens dog box may be getting too high for the dogs. I have been using the Crate Cooling Fans for the last couple of years and I love them! I usually get a whole season on one set of “D” cell batteries, and my Owens dog box actually has two square “holes” that the fans fit perfectly. While other competitors are trying to find shade to tie their hounds in, I am able to get right in and get my guys entered, while my dogs are quietly waiting with cool air blowing over them. I have actually had my hounds in the box while temps were 80+ and they are sleeping peacefully while dogs in the shade are panting and digging, trying to stay cool. I have had to replace a fan or 2 due to water damage as the product is not waterproof, but over all they cannot be beaten. I have also found that the power cord offered with the Deluxe fan w/cooling system will work as there is a port for the power cord.