Canines cool themselves through the process of panting. By means of this panting action, they keep cool and, during most times, avoid overheating. However, in instances of extreme heat, during physical exertion, or when they have become somewhat dehydrated due to insufficient ventilation, panting is often not enough.
In conditions such as those above, a canine can, within minutes, become severely overheated, which can lead to heat exhaustion, heatstroke, failure of their kidneys, damage to their brains, and in some cases, even death.
To help your furry companion to keep from overheating as we get ready to head into the dog days of summer, we offer a few suggestions.
- When deciding to take a walk, run or hike with your companion, always make sure you have either a water bottle or a portable water bowl handy. You will need to supply your companion with fresh, cool water to stave off the possibility of overheating or dehydration.
- Many breeds naturally have a dense, thick coat. Reach out to your companion’s vet and ask if it would be of benefit to trim their coat slightly shorter than usual for the hot summer months.
- Whenever your companion has exerted themselves, whether through running, playing, or hiking, make sure to rest in a cool shaded area. This will aid in cooling down much faster than if still in the hot sun.
- Make sure your companion takes frequent breaks from exerting themselves and playing too hard or too long in the heat.
- If indoors, use a fan or air conditioner to increase and provide significant airflow. Just like us humans, when our companions are hot, they like the benefit of a cool breeze from a fan.
- Limit your companion’s activity to the cooler parts of the day. If it is sweltering most of the day, then keep your companion inside and cooled down,
- Never, never, and I mean never, take your companion with you and leave them in the car. Even on the coolest of days, the inside of a vehicle can get to deadly temperatures.