Friday, June 26

Keep your dog cool!

There was an interesting post on the BRAG group about keeping your dog cool... as canine athletes our little four leggeds tend to heat up very quickly, and heat stroke is never a good thing! Apparently dogs don't cool *quite* the same way as people do. Last night, Popper had agility practice, and I put a couple of things to the test. He absolutely HATES the heat (and the cold, for that matter), and will shut down and refuse to work. He was panting rapidly before we even started doing anything, he is that sensitive to heat.

Firstly, getting your dog wet does help. I took Popper out after every run and just dosed him with a gallon of water, which I rubbed in to make sure it got down in there. I have read that you want to do that right before a run, otherwise it can actually insulate the heat IN and make them hotter.

Secondly, if you get your dog wet, don't stick them somewhere with poor air circulation. If you put your dog in a crate (which we all do at trials) then stick a huge fan right on it. The evaporation of the water is what's going to keep your dog cool. If you just crate them, chances are, you're going to see your dog's temperature rise. Those little crate fans aren't much help - go buy a huge one. They do make large ones that are battery operated or can run on your car's power.

I've also heard good things about those cooling mats, if you can get your dog to lie on it, and those reflective coats/tarps.

On the way home from agility, Popper was soaked, and I turned the air on in my car and directed a vent full blast on him. After a minute or two, he was relaxed, comfortable, and not panting - I, on the other hand, was still hot, sticky, and panting!

And, of course, all my advice comes at a "use at your own risk." Always consult a veterinarian if you are unsure about how to keep your pooch cool in the summer heat and use common sense.

No comments: