Tips for Keeping Your Dog Cool

It is officially summertime.  As the temperature rises, we all know some sure fire ways to cool off: a nice cold glass of lemonade, a quick dip in the pool, a nap in the shade.  Your newly adopted beagle—let’s call her–“Macy”, may not be able to have lemonade, and most beagles aren’t that fond of swimming but summer can still be fun for her….if we keep a few hot weather tips in mind:

Hot dogs are not cool!

Don’t leave your dog in the car!  Common sense, right?  But this is so important we felt it was worth mentioning again…… and mentioning it first.  Though it may seem cool outside, the sun can raise the temperature inside your car to 120 degrees Fahrenheit, even with the windows rolled down or in the shade. “Macy” may get overexcited in the car due to someone passing by or suffer from anxiety, increasing the possibility of dehydration.

 

Drink up

“Macy” needs access to lots of fresh water during the summer, so check her water bowl several times a day to be sure it’s full. If you and “Macy” enjoy an early morning or evening walk, be sure to take plenty of water for both of you.  And beware: hot weather may tempt her to drink from puddles in the street, which can contain antifreeze and other chemicals like fertilizer. Antifreeze has a sweet taste that animals like, but it’s extremely toxic.

 

Can dogs get a sunburn?

YES! Though all that fur helps protect her, a dog’s skin can burn in the sun just like a human’s skin can. White, light-colored, and thinly coated dogs have an increased risk of sunburn. Sunburn causes pain, itching, peeling, and other problems.  Darker coats are less likely to get sunburn but do absorb more heat, making them more prone to dehydration and / or heat stroke.

 

Humidity is not a dog’s friend

Be cautious on humid days. When we overheat we sweat, and when the sweat dries it takes excess heat with it. “Macy” only perspires around her paws, which is not enough to cool her whole body. To rid herself of excess heat, she pants. Panting will move air through her nasal passages and pick up excess heat from her body. As she expels the air through her mouth, the extra heat leaves along with it. This is a very effective way to control body heat, but it is becomes limited during times of high humidity or when the animal is in close quarters (such as a car – see above).

 

Summer care for seniors, puppies & horizontally challenged (chubby) dogs

Senior beagles, very young puppies, and ill beagles have a hard time regulating their body temperature.  It is important to make sure they stay cool and out of the sun on steamy summer days.  Overweight dogs are also more prone to overheating, because their extra layers of fat act as insulation, which traps heat in their bodies and restricts their breathing capabilities.  This is just one more good reason to keep your beagle at a healthy weight.

 

Shade? Yes, please!

Make sure “Macy” has access to shade when outside and bring her inside as much as possible. Shade can move throughout the afternoon, and pets can become ill quickly if they overheat.

 

Walks

Take walks in the early mornings or later at night, when surfaces are coolest.  This will make the walk more comfortable for both you and “Macy”.  Keep the walks to a gentle pace and make sure she has plenty of water.

 

You can fry an egg on that!

In addition, try to stay off hot surfaces because it can burn “Macy’s” paws.  Heat rises from the ground, especially on surfaces like cement and asphalt, and dogs absorb and release heat through their feet.  Press your hand onto surfaces for 30 seconds to test them before allowing your dog to walk on them. If it is painful for you, it will be painful for your dog.  You can use doggie boots, which can be found at your local pet store.

 

Bottoms up!

Dogs cool from the bottom up.  To help “Macy” cool off, spray her paws and stomach (not just her top) with water. A wet towel will do more good on the bottom of your beagle than when laid on the top of her coat.

 

Heat Stroke signs

And of course, if you see any signs of heat stroke, contact a veterinarian immediately.  Some signs to watch out for include:

  • Panting (excessive, prolonged or recurrent; may start, stop, then start again)
  • Restlessness or agitation for no apparent reason
  • Whining, barking or vocalizing for no apparent reason
  • Frothing/foaming at the mouth
  • Excessive drooling
  • Labored or difficult breathing
  • Elevated heart rate
  • Dry, tacky gums
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Confusion; disorientation
  • Lack of coordination
  • Red gums and other mucus membranes
  • Lethargy, listlessness, dullness
  • Weakness
  • Seizures
  • Uncontrolled muscle tremors
  • Collapse

 

Originally posted on TBR’s Website in July 2014