Sunday, June 5, 2011

Nice Weather Brings Heat And Other Dangers For Dogs

It has been eight long months since we've seen temps in the 70's.  It is finally nice weather, right?  So the last thing we want to do now, is worry or complain about the heat.  But we need to be extra careful about watching our dogs for any signs of heat stress.  Fact is, that here in the beautiful Pacific Northwest, we just are not acclimated to ANY sort of heat--and neither are our dogs.

Packing water and a container with the dogs is a great idea for relief from summer heat.
I have a rule that whenever the temps get over 85 degrees, I train retrievers only on water--or have plenty of water available for the dogs to soak in--such as a pool like the one pictured above. Yesterday, during retriever training, I was not prepared with supplies for cooling dogs, like a pool full of water or ice filled "Kool Collars."  After all, it was only going to be in the mid 70's, right?  But--bottom line--is that the dogs, all of them, were significantly heat stressed after running four long marks of several hundred yards and a couple of long blinds.  Going from training regularly in temperatures of 30's, 40's and 50's, the dog's cooling systems were not prepared for the shock of training in warm weather.

Living someplace warm, of course, the dogs would be used to the heat.  But here, we need to take it slow and understand that our dogs need some help adjusting.

Other dangers for dogs associated with the heat of course are from leaving them in a car or letting them swim in a swollen river still running high with snow melt.  Even with the windows cracked, the temperature inside a car left in the sun on a 75' plus day can quickly go to over 100's and can kill a dog fast.  The local rivers are running high and fast right now, and while dogs seem to fare better in the cold water than people do, it is still not a good idea to take a chance.

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