Dogs can suffer from heat stress in just a few short minutes, even when the temperature doesn’t seem that hot to us. Fortunately, there are plenty of ways to help prevent your dog from getting so overheated that he suffers heat stress or heatstroke.
1. Avoid excessive exposure to extraordinary heat. At home, make sure there’s shade; lots of fresh, cool water to drink; and perhaps the cooling breeze of a fan. If you must take him out, try to keep him out of the sun – and make sure he has constant access to cool drinking water.
2. Modify your dog’s exercise routine in hot weather. Walk him after dark or before dawn, or head to a pond or creek where dogs are safe and welcome, and incorporate swimming or water play into his usual game of fetch. During severe heat waves, he can forego any sort of rigorous exercise for a few days.
3. Get him wet. Hose him down, put him in the tub, mist him with a spray bottle, or wipe his coat with a sopping wet towel. In a humid environment, you’ll need to get some extra air flowing over him for a wet coat to help him cool down. Ceiling fans are terrific; battery-powered fans that attach to your dog’s crate or x-pen work well, too.
4. Provide ample water. Make sure your dog has lots of fresh, cool water – preferably from more than one source. Dogs always seem to drink more when they have options. If you’re out with the dog, offer water frequently.
5. Use an evaporative cooling vest, coat, bandanna, or mat. We love our Outward Hound Cooling bandanas or cooling mats, but in a pinch, even a plain cotton T-shirt or bandana, wetted and worn by the dog, can help provide some evaporative cooling.
From the Whole Dog Journal, August 2011