Tag Archives: overheating

6 cool ideas to prevent a hot dog

Whether they’re lying under a shade tree, lapping up water from bowl left on the sidewalk by dog friendly retailers, or staying inside while the sun’s out, dogs are very proficient at beating summer’s heat.

They have to be. Dogs can’t take off layers of clothes like humans, nor do they perspire like we do (they do sweat a tiny bit from their feet) to help them stay cool. What they do instead is pant, which is not a very efficient way of keeping cool.

Here are six cool things you can do to help your dog beat the heat:

Have multiple sources of water outside. This is not only to prevent one from running out of water, but in case a bowl gets tipped over. Or you can do like we did and install a lickable water source on an outside water faucet.

Made in the shade. Being directly in the sun raises body temperature faster than a greyhound chasing a mechanical rabbit. Shade can be a tree, umbrella, covered porch. Just never tie a dog down in the sun or in a place where shifting sunlight makes them vulnerable.

Do a home inspection. A garage might feel cool when you leave for work, but be like an easy bake oven by 1 p.m.. Same with enclosed porches and outbuildings. Check to see how hot they get before you decide it’s safe to leave a pet in them during the day. And never trust AC to always work. Over my almost four decade career, I’ve seen several pets die of heat exhaustion when they were in something like a glassed-in porch when the portable AC failed. This would have been prevented if the dogs hadn’t been locked in the porch but had an escape route.

Timing is everything. Rather than take your dog out during the hottest part of the day, schedule walks or exercise in the early morning or late evening when temps are much cooler.

Recognize “dog tired.” I see pet owners all the time pushing, older, overweight or out-of-shape pets to try and ‘keep up’ with them walking, jogging or even bicycling. Big mistake, especially when they start showing signs if fatigue such as excessive panting, falling behind, seeking shade and/or water or lying down frog legged. These aren’t signs to slow down, they’re signs to stop.

The worst cut is the deepest. It’s a good idea to have thick, or long-coated dogs groomed to remove and undercoat, get rid of matts or cut the hair shorter. But don’t have them shaved as a coat can help insulate your dog and will prevent them from getting sunburned.

senior dog

Should you worry if your dog is panting?

We want dogs to get panting tired at least once every day. And dogs are designed to pant to cool off when they’re starting to get overheated. But is your dog’s panting really an early sign that something’s wrong?

Open-mouthed, quick little breaths are a sign that your pet is warm. Dogs have some sweat glands in their paw pads, but panting allows our furry friends a much more efficient way to cool down. Panting evaporates water from the mouth, tongue, and upper respiratory tract. This evaporation is a natural cooling process, and works the same way sweating does for humans.

To us, panting can sometimes look like a lot of work – that’s because a panting dog can take 300 to 400 breaths per minute, ten times your pet’s normal breathing rate. Because a dog’s lungs and airways are elastic, these extra breaths don’t take up too much energy.

Panting is perfectly normal if the dog is exercising or it’s a hot day, but if panting starts suddenly, for no reason, or if the panting is constant, take your dog to the vet. It could be the first sign of illness.