Keep Your Dog Cool in the Summer Heat
Hunting in hot weather can easily lead to a dehydrated and overheated dog, with both conditions being dangerous. Hunters can easily allow their enthusiasm for the hunt to cloud their judgment when it comes to the health of a pet. Here, tips for keeping your dog cool on warm days will be discussed.
Carry Water and Ice
Keep water for your dog in your vehicle and with you at all times during the hunt. Even if the temperature feels comfortable to you, remember that your dog will be working much harder and is unable to sweat. Keep large amounts of water in your car, such as 1 – 5 gallon jugs, and portable water bottles in your field bag or vest. You should also stock a cooler with ice in case of emergency.
Do Not Rely on Natural Water
While some streams or ponds may be safe for your dog to drink from, never encourage this behavior. Natural bodies of water can contain highly toxic algae and bacteria, as well as chemical runoff from farms.
Water Your Dog Whenever Possible
Since dogs cannot sweat, they are not able to cool themselves as efficiently as humans. You can help your dog cool off by keeping his or her coat wet throughout the hunting or training session, thereby allowing evaporative cooling. Soak your dog’s fur (ensuring the water reaches the skin) on warm days. If your dog is on the verge of heat stroke, cool your dog by pouring water on his or her tongue, throat, belly, groin, back, and ears.
Avoid the Heat of the Day
When the temperature is especially warm, opt for early morning or early evening hunting and training sessions. These times of day are generally produce the best hunting.
Use Hydrating Products
Even though dogs don’t sweat, they still lose necessary vitamins and minerals when they work hard, which can lead to dehydration. Look for products that replace lost nutrients in hard-working dogs, similar to sports drinks for humans.
Know the Signs of Heat Stroke
Heat stroke is extremely deadly for dogs, but can typically be managed if caught in time. The symptoms of heat stroke include excessive panting, disorientation, ignoring commands, glazed eyes, incoordination, staggering, and collapse.
Know the Treatment for Heat Stroke
Heat stress and heat stroke are very serious conditions that must be treated immediately. If your dog is showing the signs of heat stroke, he or she requires attention from a veterinarian ASAP. In the meantime, cool off your dog by pouring water on sensitive areas of the body and encouraging him or her to drink, if the dog is conscious. However, do not force your dog to drink water if he or she is unable or unwilling. When transporting your dog to the veterinarian, ensure there is plenty of ventilation in your dog’s crate or trailer. If possible, put your dog in front of an air conditioning vent in the cab of your vehicle.