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Keep Your Dog Cool During Summer

Updated on January 4, 2012

When summer rolls around most seem to think beach and sunshine. The family canine however is probably lounging around and digging out the grass to lie on the cool dirt. Dogs are less efficient at cooling themselves than humans, and if you have outside dogs they are more prone to dehydration.

Dehydration in dogs is a very real danger and can in some cases be fatal. There are a few things that can be done to prevent it, but if you notice your dog exhibiting all the signs of dehydration along with being unresponsive to commands, the recommendation is to get them to the vet quick smart. | Source

How Do Dogs Cool Themselves?

Well, most of a dogs sweat glands are located in their feet, or footpads to be exact, along with in their ears, this is a very small area to expel all heat from their bodies and so is obviously a little inefficient.

They cool down mostly by panting. Because they produce a lot of saliva, panting helps them to cool through their mouths and throat. They can also dilate vessels in their face and ears to help a little more, but you can see why this is just not enough to cope with hot summer days.

Signs of Dog Dehydration

There are a few signs of dehydration but they may not be that easy to pick up, monitoring their water intake is good advice, any change may indicate they are struggling with the heat and preventative measures can be put in place.

Some of the signs include:

  • Unresponsive to commands
  • Rapid breathing and heart rate
  • Vomiting
  • Sunken eyes
  • No energy
  • Dry mouth
  • No appetite
  • Loss of skin elasticity

To check a dogs skin elasticity, pinch together the skin on the back of the neck or between the shoulder blades and let go, if the skin doesn't bounce back immediately it is a sign that dehydration is advancing. Not all dehydrated dogs will have this though, their skin may bounce back but they may have all the other signs.

Your dog may have some or all of these symptoms, the more advanced the dehydration, the more prominent the symptoms.

Dangers of Dog Dehydration

Dehydration can be potentially fatal. It can result in low blood pressure, organ failure, and eventually if left untreated, death. If you suspect your dog is severely dehydrated, take it to the local vet. A veterinarian will administer intravenous fluids and give advice for monitoring the situation.

Source | Source

Ideas to Help Your Dog Cool Down

These measures can be prepared before hand and given throughout the day. It's best to have a plan in place to deal with extreme temperatures so your dog can enjoy the summer heat without getting sick.

  • If you have inside dogs, keep them in a cooler part of the house or in an air conditioned environment
  • Wrap them in cool wet towels during the hotter weather
  • Hose your dog down with cool water from the garden hose during the day
  • If your dog will not drink from its bowl, try encouraging it to drink from the hose, some dogs prefer drinking running water than still water.
  • Place their favourite doggy treats in ice cube trays, top up with water and freeze, give these treats during the day, some dogs will love ice blocks, some might not go near them
  • Fill water balloons with water and put them in the freezer overnight, when they've completely frozen, peel the balloon off and drop the ice blocks into their water
  • If you have a Kong toy for dogs, try filling it with peanut butter and freezing it, it will cool the dogs down while they're playing with the toy
  • Stuff chicken necks into a Kong or playtoy, then freeze

It pays to be ready for dehydration in the hotter months, knowing how to prevent it from occuring can be the difference between a healthy four legged friend and one that may need potentially expensive emergency treatment.


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