Avoiding Heat Related Injuries In Dogs
I think this is good information for us all this time of year.

(Permission to Cross Post)

Avoiding Heat Related Injuries in Dogs

Nate Baxter DVM

The first thing that needs to be understood is that dogs and people are different enough that most of the info cannot cross lines. I do not profess to know what the appropriate procedures for people other than what I learned in first aid.

Dogs do not lose enough electrolytes thru exercise to make a difference, but if the dog gets truly into heat stroke the physiology changes will make them necessary. BUT oral replacement at that point is futile, they need intravenous fluids and electrolytes and lots of it.

Cooling: Evaporative cooling is the most efficient mean of cooling.

However, in a muggy environment, the moisture will not evaporate so cooling does not happen well. I cool with the coldest water I can find and will use ice depending on the situation. The best way is to run water over the dog, so there is always fresh water in contact with the skin. When you immerse a dog in a tub, the water trapped in the hair coat will get warm next to the dog, and act as an insulator against the cool water and cooling stops. If you can run water over the dog and place it in front of a fan that is the best. Misting the dog with water will only help if you are in a dry environment or in front of a fan. Just getting the dog wet is not the point, you want the water to be cool itself, or to evaporate.

For MOST situations all you will need to do is get the dog in a cooler environment, ie shade, or in the cab of the truck with the air conditioning on (driving around so the truck does not overheat and the AC is more efficient). Up to a couple of years ago, I was very concerned about my dogs getting too hot in the back of my black pickup with a black cap. New white truck fixed a lot of that problem. When I had one dog I just pulled the wire crate out of the car and put it in some shade and hopefully a breeze. But having 2 dogs and running from one stake to another, that was not feasible. So I built a platform to put the wire crates on, this raises the dog up in the truck box where the air flow is better. Then I placed a 3 speed box fan in front blowing on the dogs with a foot of space to allow better airflow. I purchased a power inverter that connects to the battery and allows the 3 speed fan to run from the truck power. It has an automatic feature that prevents it from draining the battery. When I turned that fan on medium I would find that the dogs where asleep, breathing slowly and appeared very relaxed and comfortable in a matter of 20 minutes or less, even on very hot muggy days.

Alcohol: I do carry it for emergiencies. It is very effective at cooling due to the rapid evaporation. It should be used when other methods are not working. You should be on your way to the veterinarian before you get to this point. We recommend using rubbing alcohol, which is propylene alcohol, not ethyl, for those of you not aware. So do not try to drink it. Alcohol should be used on the pads and lower feet area where there is little more than skin and blood vessels over the bones. Use a little bit and let it evaporate, you can use too much as some is absorbed through the skin. There are concerns about toxicity, but you have to get the temperature down.

I purchased those cooling pads that you soak in cold water, but found that the dogs would not lay on them. I would hold them on the back of a dog that just worked to get a quick cool, but have not use them for years. I also bought a pair of battery operated fans but found them pretty useless. Spend your money on the power inverter and get a real fan.

Watching temperature:
If you feel your dog is in danger of heat injury, check its temp and write it down. Keep checking the temp every 3 minutes. I recommend to get a "rectal glass thermometer. The digital ones for the drug store I have found to be very unreliable, Don't forget to shake it down completely each time, sounds silly, but when are worried about your companion, things tend to get mixed up. This is VERY IMPORTANT**once the temp STARTS to drop, STOP ALL COOLING EFFORTS. The cooling process will continue even though you have stopped. If the temp starts at 106.5, and then next time it drops to 105.5, stop cooling the dog, dry it off, and continue monitoring. You will be amazed how it continues to go down. If you do not stop until the temp is 102, the temp will drop way too low. I cannot emphasis this point enough.

When the dog is so heated that it is panting severely, only let it have a few laps of water. Water in the stomach does not cool the dog, you just need to keep the mouth wet so the panting is more effective.

Do not worry about hydration until the temp has started down. A dog panting heavily taking in large amounts of water is a risk of bloat.

Due to the heavy panting they will swallow air, mixed with a large amount of water they can bloat. Once the temp is going down and panting has slowed to more normal panting then allow water. The dog will rehydrate it self after temp is normal. If the dog has a serious problem and even though you have gotten the temp normal, get the dog to a vet, as it can still need IV fluids and some medication. Also, a case of heat stroke can induce a case of hemorrhagic gastroenteritis (not parvo), with a ton of very bloody diarrhea and a lot of fluid and electrolyte loss. These cases need aggressive treatment.

The best method of treatment is prevention. Learn to watch your dog, and see the changes in the size of the tongue, and how quickly it goes down. Learn your dogs response to the different environments, and be careful when you head south for an early season hunt test or trial. I have been to Nashville at the end of May, only 5 hours away, but the difference in temp and humidity did effect the dogs as they were used to more spring weather in Ohio. Try different things in training to help the dog cool and learn what works better. Another very important point=> Do not swim your hot dog to cool it then put in put in a box/ tight crate. Remember, evaporation can not take place in a tight space, and the box will turn into a sauna and you will cook your dog.

Carry a stake out chain, and let the dog cool and dry before putting it up. I demonstrated this lesson this spring with my 10 month old pup.

After doing a 15 minute session in yard drill on a warm 70+ degree day, she was panting pretty hard and was pretty hot. She was OK but it was time to stop. Just for the heck of it I took her temp. She was 103.6, above normal but too bad for a dog that had just finished working. In my back yard I have a 300 gallon Rubbermaid tub filled with water. I took her to it and she jumped in and out 3-4 times. She appeared totally improved, tongue was much smaller, and eyes brighter and her full spring was back into her step. So I re-took her temp and it was 104.2, so even though she looked better she was hotter. This is a perfect lesson to show not get a hot dog wet and then put them in a box. The water on her skin caused the blood vessels to constrict, decreasing blood flow to the skin. Therefore the hot blood was shunted back to the dog's core and retianed the heat. You may have felt the same thing, after exercising but still being very warm, take a shower and get cooled off but as soon as you turn the shower off you start sweating again.

I know this is a bit long, but hopefully this is easy to understand and helps provide some useful information.

Remember: Prevention, learn your dog. It is worth the time and effort.

____________ ______

Nate Baxter, DVM

Lebanon, OH

blacklab@iac. net
Alanna and Bonnie

[Image: 5916570004_b1e9968365_z.jpg]
Here's another one. Credit goes to Chris Puls. I have it as a handout on a Word file if anyone wants it to share.

Beating the heat
How to keep your dog safe in warm temperatures
Recognizing the signs of heatstroke in dogs

Whether temperatures have just started to rise in the spring or summer is in full swing, you need to be aware of how the heat can affect your dog. This can apply if you are just visiting warmer climates with your dog too. Knowing how to keep your dog cool, recognize the symptoms of heat stroke and knowing what to do about it could save your dog’s life!

Just as it takes us awhile to get used to seasonally warmer temperatures, dogs also have an adjustment period. This can be aided or hindered by how much fur they shed and how often they are brushed. If your dog is not yet used to being in (or exercising in) warmer temperatures take it easy and watch him closely.

Ways you can help your dog adjust to and cope with heat:

Give your dog plenty of brushing, especially when they are going through a shedding cycle. The dog’s coat can help insulate the skin from high or low temperatures, but if there is a layer of dead hair blocking a cooling air flow, the dog can overheat more quickly and heat generated by the dog’s body will get trapped close to the skin. Shaving a dog may seem like a good thing to do, but can actually cause more problems than it solves. Instead, just be sure to give the dog a thorough daily brushing to remove dead hair. Using a shedding blade or comb can help reduce mats and dead hair build up more so than a soft brush or standard comb.

Limit the dog’s time in the heat. Even if they are swimming, exertion in high heat can cause the dog’s internal temperature to rise to dangerous levels with surprising speed. If the dog is not yet acclimated to the heat, even a simple slow walk could cause danger. This is especially true in short nosed breeds, elderly dogs, young puppies and dogs with thick coats. Give the dog access to a cool basement, air conditioning in your home or, if you are traveling, you might need to use your car’s air conditioning to cool the dog.

Use a cooling coat or white T-shirt on dark colored dogs. Black and dark fur absorbs the heat from the sun. Putting a special cooling coat, reflective coat or even a simple white T-shirt on the dog can keep him much cooler. Never leave these on an unsupervised dog however.

Use water to your advantage. Giving the dog access to a kiddy pool that is in the shade can help the dog cool himself. But be sure it stays in the shade, or it might become a hot tub! A sprinkler could also be used if you don’t mind mud and your dog doesn’t drink too much water. If you know your dog will be exerting himself, wet the dog first. This can be especially effective if you wet the areas with thinner hair and where blood vessels are closest to the surface. This includes the head, armpits, legs, belly, feet and groin. Having the dog lie down in a small pool of water just before exertion can help keep the dog’s temperature from rising too fast as the water evaporates and causes cooling.

Ice treats can help cool the dog. Make your dog a shaved ice snow cone flavored with apple juice or carrot juice. You can make ice cubes out of fruit or vegetable juice too. Another fun treat, especially for large dogs, is a bucket of ice with treats and toys frozen into it. As the ice melts or gets chewed/licked more goodies come free. If you remove the ice from the bucket your dog has more sides from which to get the treats.

If the dog overheats:
Learn the signs of heat stroke (Hyperthermia) so you can act quickly to lower your dog’s temperature before internal damage or death occurs.

Signs of K-9 overheating:
Heavy or labored panting/breathing. If the dog sounds like he’s having trouble breathing or can’t catch his breath, the dog may be too hot.
Wide/long tongue – the warmer the dog, the more tongue you will see and the wider the end of his tongue will get. It might also get very red from high blood pressure and the body’s attempt to get as much blood to the cooler skin surface as possible.
Excessive drooling- the dog is trying to use evaporation in his mouth to increase the cooling effects of panting. But this can cause dehydration, which can cause additional health problems. The dog can only cool himself though his mouth and foot pads. So be careful if your dog is walking on hot pavement as this can also cause a quick rise in body heat even if the air is not overly warm.
Seeking shade or a cool spot. Dogs usually know when they need to cool down. If your dog is pulling for shade, it’s time to let him rest a bit in a cool location.
Sluggishness or refusing to move. The dog is trying to conserve and reduce his energy level so his temperature doesn’t rise further. If you dog refuses to move or collapses, that could be a big warning sign.
Weakness of the muscles. In advancing stages, the dog will not be able to stand or walk.

Use the cooling steps on the back of this brochure if your dog has gotten too hot.

NOTE: Dogs should never wear a constricting muzzle in hot temperatures especially when they need to pant to cool themselves.

Dogs with short snouts, elderly dogs and young puppies may have a harder time regulating their internal temperature and can reach a life threatening stage very quickly with little warning.

What to do if your dog gets too hot:

Get cool (NOT cold) water on the head, arm pits, belly, legs, feet and groin. You don’t want to use cold water as this could send the dog into shock (like jumping into an ice cold swimming pool on a hot day.) Rubbing alcohol or wet towels could also be used. Only let the dog drink small, frequent amounts to limit vomiting.

Get the dog into air conditioning if possible. This could be in a car or building. If not available, get the dog to the shade or a cooler location as quickly as possible.

Do the previous steps on your way to the vet’s office. A dog’s normal temperature is around 101 degrees. They can only handle 107+ degree internal temperatures for a few minutes before internal organ and brain damage starts to occur. If the dog has shown signs of heat stroke, get the dog to a vet even if you bring his temperature back down. He may need IV fluids, further treatment and/or help with the side effects like vomiting, diarrhea, seizures and blood clots. The vet can do a blood test to determine if internal organ damage has occurred.

Prevention is the best medicine. Use good judgment based on the information in this flyer and knowledge about your dog to decide if being outside or doing a specific activity is safe for you and your dog.

This information brought to you by:
 "http://www.DogScouts.org" www.DogScouts.org
Feel free to make copies of this brochure to share!

Alanna and Bonnie

[Image: 5916570004_b1e9968365_z.jpg]
Cool thanks or sharing. Big Grin
Gabby, Athena, & Trout
The best handler in the world is the one whose dog is having the most fun.

[Image: CD_15485_174335_athenaGraves_a1064195-1-1.jpg]
Thank you for all of the valuable information. I worry so much about heat and bloat.
In their short lives our pets give us all they can...their friendship, unselfish love, and total loyalty. Lucky dog always in my heart
Great post. Lots of info here. I have a feeling it's going to be a very hot summer.
Lance & Mick

[Image: sparklelance_sig.gif]
Good information, Holly never drinks much when we come in from a walk, i always wondered why!.
[Image: playing_with_my_new_squeaky_rugby_ball-1.jpg]
Thanks Alanna!! Smile
Tammy...with the polka dot bcs!
[Image: 002-1-1.gif]
Lots of good info. Bear's problem (and I'm sure it's not unique) is she'll run after a ball or whatever even when she's hot and panting, so when it's warm out and we're playing we'll only throw it a few times and then let her sit in the shade for a while, then throw it a few more times, etc.

We bought her a kiddie pool this weekend but she didn't really want to have much to do with it. We lured her into it with a ball, and made her sit down, but she was up and out quickly. Maybe she'll get used to it in time.

She likes to lay on our tile floors when it's warm, and in front of one of the AC vents when it's on. We try to get her to hang out in the basement too where it's cooler.
-- Mike --
I went ahead and stickied this thread so we don't have to bump it to the top all Summer.
Lance & Mick

[Image: sparklelance_sig.gif]
I agree with you... thank you for all of the valuable information.
Very good article....

Forum Jump:

Users browsing this thread: 1 Guest(s)