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Summer’s Dog Days (How to keep While the “dog days” of summer ol while we recreate outdoors, yet active

, like they desire? , precautions must be taken to

your dog cool and not suffer from heat stress) roll on, we think about ways to keep ourselves co but what about our dogs? How can they stay cool, With temperatures often topping the century mark ensure our dog’s optimal health.

Dogs often can’t, or won’t, take care to monitor their own needs. They are akin to toddlers in that respect. Our dogs need consistent supervision while playin g or exercising in hot weather. While dogs wearing fur coats in the summer mont hs might be natural, it doesn’t make it any less hot or uncomfortable for him. Worse yet, try exercising in fur! Many dogs are perpetual motion machines. In general, only senior dogs lay around most of the day and therefore are able to s tay cool enough to regulate their body temperature when it is very hot. While be ing outside with him is exciting to him, proper care should be taken so he won’t become overheated. Various strategies must be adopted to minimize the chance t hat your dog will over-do it, otherwise there is a potential for disastrous resu lts. If you usually exercise your dog mid-day, try changing the time when you do work him. Early mornings or later in the evenings are generally more desirable exer cise times. Simply changing the time of exercise can help minimize a possible heat-related problem. Since dogs can only quickly expel heat from their mouths and bottoms of their feet, they take longer to cool down than humans. It makes sense to exercise them when the outside temperatures are a bit milder. In some areas of the country, the humidity can also be a factor to recovering from heat. Humidity prevents quick evaporation. Since evaporation is a cooling process, the faster the evaporation, the faster the cooling of a body will be. Mornings typically have less humidity and lower temperatures, thus fewer problems with re covery. Take the middays off for resting. This is typically the hottest part of the day and should be avoided as a time for engaging in exercise. Who really wants to be out there in steaming weather?! Move indoors. Typically, it is a lot cooler inside the house, and your dog will appreciate spending the middle of the day i nside a cool home. Take breaks more often. Shorter workouts with more breaks prevent your dog from becoming over-heated, as he could in a longer straight workout. Allow your dog to cool down for a bit, and then exercise some more. Offer plenty of cool water. This can be for drinking, or to take a nice dip. M any dogs won’t drink right after a workout. They will generally wait a minute o r two; so don’t be too concerned if he doesn’t drink immediately. If you offer a place for a hot dog to lie down in some cool water, he will probably do so, he lping to regulate the temperature of the blood that is close to the skin’s surfa ce Evaporation off the surface of his body will also aid in cooling him. In case you over-do exercise on a hot day, and you are concerned for your dog’s well-being, place him in a cool water bath and allow him to drink while he is ly ing there. In addition, place a fan by him to aid in the evaporative process. Here is an example of animals being over heated just like dogs can be. A few yea rs ago, we had a heat spell (113 degrees) and no one was used to it. Some of ou r chickens went into their coop and piled on one another… and died. One chicken was still alive but totally unresponsive. I brought the chicken out of the coo p and into the shaded barn, grabbed a fan, and put her in front of it. I watere d down the entire coop including the outside dirt area to bring down the surroun ding air temperature. A few minutes later, I soaked the surviving hen in a buck et of water for about a half an hour, then took her out and positioned her back in front of the fan. After about two hours, she started coming around. That ni

ght she spent separated from the other chickens, but was up and about by morning , ready to join her friends. If your dog is in this kind of distress, you will w ant to take him to a veterinarian immediately. We don’t want this scary scenari o to happen to our beloved dogs, so appropriate care needs to be taken when exer cising them in hot weather. Simple changes in your exercise routine can make all of the difference in the wo rld to your dog during the “dog days” of summer. Changing in the time that you exercise him (with mornings probably being the best), to shorter workouts with m ore frequent breaks can allow your dog more time to cool down. Try taking the m id-day off and offer him the cool indoors to spend the afternoon. After exercis e, offer cool water and/or a cool bath to dip in. In addition, don’t worry if h e doesn’t drink immediately. However, make sure that he does drink water eventu ally. If he is distressed, place the wet dog in front of a fan in the shade. Th is will cool him down faster, and minimize the after affects of heat related str ess. This article has been written as information only. Seek a veterinarian immediat ely if heat stress is suspected.