Woof Wednesday: Hot Dogs, Heatstroke & Cool Tips

Summer is here, and she’s in a nasty mood. Temperatures this week have soared into the mid-to-high 90s and yesterday reached 100 degrees. For hairless humans, the risk of sunburn becomes an issue and even the fur-kids (especially those with white fur) can develop burns on the thinly furred areas like ear tips and the bridge of the nose. Some dogs enjoy sunbathing on their backs and get burned tummies!

But the true risk for these hot days is heatstroke. That happens when the body isn’t able to cool off sufficiently. People sweat, but dogs (and cats, too) have sweat glands in their paws which aren’t particularly effective for cooling. Instead the dog relies on panting to cool off–there are also 9 other reasons dogs pant–while kitties only pant when in trouble and more likely lick-lick-lick themselves all over for an evaporative cooling effect. The problem with these techniques, though, is that when the outside air temperature rises to pet body temperature the panting air-exchange won’t work. And the pet overheats and can succumb to heatstroke. Learn more about signs of heatstroke and first aid tips in this heatstroke article.

Those of y’all who regularly read this blog know that the Magical-Dawg LOVES car rides. But cars become deathtraps in even relatively mild temperatures. On a 78-degree day, a shaded car reaches temperatures of 90 degrees but if parked in the sun, it will reach 160 degrees in minutes. Leaving the car running with the AC blowing is no guarantee–even police dogs  have died when car cooling systems failed. So for the summer months, Magic’s car rides get limited to brief around-the-driveway morning excursions to pick up the newspaper, or after-dark trips to a drive-through ice cream shop (yes, he gets a taste). I just can’t risk my buddy at any other time.

Magic also adores games of fetch, but in this hot weather, one or two retrieves are enough to leave him gasping–even though he’d continue the game and collapse with a goofy grin and the Frisbee in his dying jaws if I let him. So we’ve had to come up with some alternatives for hot weather SAFE fun. Magic’s favs include:

  • Hose tag: chasing the water from the end of the hose
  • Pool digging: trying to “fetch” floating toys out of the doggy wading pool
  • Pup-sicle treats: chicken-broth “slushies” frozen inside Kong puzzle toys
  • Paddling in the tank: that’s the mud-hole yucky man-made pond, and means he gets a hosing off after

How do you keep YOUR hot-doggy a cool customer? Are there special summer time toys or games your pets really enjoy? Do they like to swim? Here are 9 more ways to keep dogs cool. And here’s a bit of video of the Magical-Dawg having some summer water-and-Frisbee-chasing fun. Please share your tips in the comments–and share this blog with others so their hot dogs stay safely cool!

I love hearing from you, so please share comments and questions. Do you have an ASK AMY question you’d like answered? Do you have a new kitten and need answers? Stay up to date on all the latest just subscribe the blog, “like” me on Facebook, listen to the weekly radio show, check out weekly FREE PUPPY CARE newsletter, and sign up for Pet Peeves newsletter for your chance to NAME THAT DOG character in the forthcoming THRILLER, LOST & FOUND, and pet book give-aways!


Woof Wednesday: Hot Dogs, Heatstroke & Cool Tips — 12 Comments

  1. All Beastie Girl’s outdoor activities have to happen before the sun hits our backyard or after the sun sets enough for the patio to be in shade again — that includes potty breaks. Our lows are in the 80s, yes, night time lows. Lots of sleeping around here. However, hose chase/tag is a favorite, especially when I’m watering the garden. We also play fetch inside, tossing something over the stair rail requires her to run down the stairs to get it and back up to give it to me. But swimming with the kids is definitely her favorite activity.

    Thanks for the keeping dogs cool link. Some new things to try 🙂

    • Indoor fetch is a fav at our house, too. But Magical-Dawg has no concept about ‘indoor voice’ or less exuberant ball-snatching-tossing fun so we have to make sure the toy is soft to protect breakables. Although he loves the water, Magic isn’t clear on the concept of swimming and once his feet can’t feel the bottom of the water he gets this panicky look on his face and scrambles out, LOL!

      • Surprisingly, Beastie Girl is quiet when she plays. She only barks to alert us to someone coming to the door/crossing our yard or occasionally at another animal. Soft is key for indoor fetch, definitely! LOL

  2. I can’t tell you how much I enjoyed that video of Magic – he was having so much fun with that frisbee and water. He is so smart! How old did you say he was? I enjoyed it so much I’m gonna watch it again. Thanks for sharing your precious animals with us and all of your knowledge and expertise.

  3. What a fun video! Dogs crack me up. We keep our dogs cool by taking them to the beach. Yep, we’ve got a great beach about a mile from us where the dogs can chase sea gulls, doggy surf, dig in the sand, and have a great time. Both of our dogs get that drinking the salt water isn’t good for them, but some dogs don’t know this. They drink too much then vomit everywhere. Ew.

    I’m going to show my dogs your video of Magical Dawg. I think they’ll like it.

    • Ya know, Tameri, they used to say very few dogs react to videos/tv. But now with high definition, more and more canines are really getting into the act and seem to respond to the images! Hope your dogs enjoy the splashing. 🙂

  4. Todays info was so good re the sun and light colored pets. I’ll be sure to pass this info on to our granddaughter since their boxer puppy is white. And yes, dogs do watch Tv. Our little chihuahua is glued when an action scene comes on, especially children or animals. It’s fun to see the expression on her face.

    • Seren used to watch TV (cats and the dogs with flatter faces “see” our regular tv more easily) but she gave it up when she finally saw the real thing up close and personal on a leash-ramble in the yard. *s*

  5. Great tips, Amy. It was 100 here yesterday and will be again to day. I’ve got to watch our dogs carefully, especially our Golden. For some reason, he’s decided he wants to hang out in the heat. We had an argument about it last night, lol.

  6. Pingback: Woof Wednesday: More Keeping Hot Dogs Cool « Amy Shojai's Blog

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