You probably know dogs pant to keep cool, do you know why?
Panting helps by cooling the blood vessels, which keep the brain from overheating. It then circulates the lower temperature blood through the body. The large surface area of the tongue, along with the rapid flow of air, maximizes cooling by evaporation, which is why dogs stick their tongues out when they pant. Panting also cools the respiratory system in the same way. So by providing cool fresh water you can help this process. Dogs do have sweat glands (despite popular belief), located in the pads of their feet and in their ear canals, but sweating plays a minor role in regulating body temperature.
We also know to provide shade but do you have a dog that also digs? Firstly the ground beneath is cooler and also normally damp too. So it stays cooler for longer and because there is a lot of dog surface area touching ground and blood vessels with usually less hair it cools them down
A not so talked about way to keep your dog cool is keeping them well groomed. It’s 6am in WA here and we are heading for another 40ºc day so I have made sure all my dogs are brushed and combed through, especially my Husky. The air can move freely and evenly, while still providing a barrier from our harsh sun.
Other top tips for keeping your dog cool in these high temps
1) A paddle or swim is a really efficient way to cool your dog, just as you find it refreshing so do dogs. I normally provide my dogs a sand pit clam for shallow wading and if I get the chance I’ll let them go for a swim in the dam or river.
2) Frozen toys, I use Kongs with their dinner frozen into them, there is a range of toys you can buy from pet stores that are designed specifically to be frozen- Note: Don’t give an already over heating dog anything frozen.
3) I bit like number 2 you can hose down your dogs if they enjoy it, don’t force them because that will cause them a, to move around unnecessarily and b, to become stress.
4) Create a cool breeze, just air movement is enough, you can add cooling with air moving over an ice block or such.
5) Doggy popsicles, freeze up your favourite doggy treats into ice blocks or even something like coconut kefir for an extra special treat, Make sure the ingredients are appropriate for your dog
6) Cooling merchandise, there are so many great products out there now like cooling mats, clothing, towels etc. When I’m looking to buy a new item I just look through reviews to make sure they work and they are safe from choking hazards or if chewed could be toxic.
7) Keep them inside. You probably already know my dogs are inside dogs, in the winter they get the fireplace and in summer they get the air con. Unlike very adaptive humans dogs don’t cope as well with temperature variation so I try to take this in to account as much as possible. Now I live in Australia and there is no avoiding the heat, I certainly can make it easier on my fur friends though.
8) Get to know what dehydration and heat stroke look like and the indicators. It can vary from dog to dog and breed to breed. Here are some of the common sign
-Heavy panting that is increasing over time
-Dark red or pale gums
-Loss of consciousness
-Laying down unwilling to get up
If you have any of these wet your dog’s feet in cool water and get to the vet ASAP.
- look for the loss of elasticity in your dog’s skin. To test this, simply pull lightly on their skin. If it doesn't return to its original position quickly, your dog is potentially experiencing dehydration. –Xerostomia: This is the loss of moisture in your dog's gums, causing them to become dry and sticky with thick, pasty saliva. ---Loss of appetite
In extreme cases -eyes may even become sunken
-collapse if they enter shock.
I always have electrolytes on hand even a couple stashed in the car, If you are ever in doubt always contact your vet
9) Walk in the cool of the morning, or evening. The pavements are hot, like super hot. Please please check before walking, even once it's cooled off it can still be hot.
10) Calmness is king, teaching your dog to be able to lay still all day is a god send in these extreme temps, I have pretty spirited dogs, they can however spend most of day curled up because nothing is going on and they get rewarded with their daily food for being still.
What's you top tip for keeping cool?
We love seeing how your dogs and how they are keeping cool, why not share with us on our Facebook page www.facebook.com/ThenaturaldogAus
Happy Training everyone!