Summer is in full swing and with the increase in temperature comes the increase of dangers for our dogs. Heatstroke is a serious concern for any animal, and it’s important to always consider your pets temperature as well as your own.
Why is the heat dangerous for dogs?
Dogs don’t sweat like humans. Their primary means of releasing heat is primarily through panting and a small release through the sweat glands in their paws. Dogs pant to cool their body temperature down but when you see an increase in panting, it’s a good sign that their cooling process isn’t quite making the cut.
Dogs with short snouts tend to overheat more quickly because of the shape of their nose and throat. Pugs, Boston Terriers, Bulldogs, etc. overheat much more quickly than the average dog.
How hot is too hot?
The average dog begins to struggle to cool themselves at about 80 degrees (Fahrenheit), this of course is effected by a number of things including the dog’s age and overall health. Dogs who are overweight tend to overheat at a more rapid rate.
Dogs who are overheating have pale gums, thick saliva and are panting excessively. They may also appear to be lethargic and disoriented.
To shave or not to shave?
You can’t help but feel sorry for your dog as you look at him in his “coat” of fur while your sweating in your tank top. But before you decide to shave your dog, research the breed and the purpose of that hairy coat.
Dogs coats function in multiple ways including providing skin protection from the sun and insulation for both hot and cold. So while you may think you’re helping your double coated dog out by giving him a shave, you could be putting him at higher risk for sunburn and actually making him more hot because his body can’t properly insulate its temperature.
How much water should dogs drink?
A healthy dog drinks about 1/2 to 1 ounce of water per pound of body weight per day, always have fresh cool water available for your dog, especially in the hot summer months.
Shade is always a good thing to have for your dog on a hot day but when it’s not naturally available there are products to help you create your own. Our friends at the Whole Dog Journal recommend Clean Run cooling vests for those outdoor dogs who need extra help staying cool. If your dog participates in outdoor sports these items are particularly helpful.
There are also cooling beds, fans and portable shade devices available from a variety of retailers such as Pet Safe, Amazon.com and Bed Bath and Beyond.
How we keep dogs cool at Camp
We’re always monitoring the safety and well being of our Campers and in the summer months we’re diligent at checking all of our Campers to make sure they’re staying hydrated and cool. Our facility is climate controlled and even with indoor/outdoor access we can limit outdoor play during extreme temperatures. We also have our famous bone shaped pools out in the play yards to keep everyone cool and happy. Some dogs are too distracted with playing to take a break to cool off so we do have private cabins available for those who need a cot and a separate water bowl.