Temperatures Are Rising

By: Joel Allen

Hello, folks! I hope everyone is preparing for these heat waves we are all starting to endure, especially our canine family members. Mine all get a special treat in their dog water, ICE! Once a day, I will empty their dog water, wash the water dish, and fill it up with ice. That’s very important because it cuts down on bacteria and parasites.

Ever seen a dog start to get hot? They begin to pant and sometimes become restless? Panting indicates they are sweating through their tongues and cooling down that way. Another indication of sweating is when they walk across a tile floor and their paw prints can be seen on the floor. Now, sometimes dogs will not be hot but pant and that is usually an indication they are nervous. We just have to learn how to read them and use common sense when it comes to this.

There are times when I am out on a warm day and hear someone’s dog barking in a vehicle with the windows up. I shake my head at seeing this. We still offer, “If your dog is locked in your hot car, with the windows up and not running the a/c, a free broken window!” I know that’s funny and sarcastic at the same time but it is true. I believe when a person does something like this to their dog, they are selfish and really should not have a dog.

Now, I am not saying accidents do not happen where the dog gets in the car without anyone seeing it, and they accidentally get shut in the hot car at home. That has tragically happened with my family. Mom pulled up to the house one day and the “girls” (my sisters) got out. As they did, their dog slipped by them into the vehicle because she was a “foodie” and the kids always dropped food in the vehicle. It happened that she got past them unnoticed and was shut in the vehicle. She died and everyone was so upset. A hot car will not only kill children, as we have seen on the news, but animals also. So, practice “situational awareness” and stay aware of what is going on around you.

I try and keep water on hand, and if I don’t have any, I will stop and get a bottle of water or a cup of ice water for my canine family member. I have been guilty of not realizing Houston was hot until he was panting, and I felt guilty for not paying attention. I, of all people, should always be aware of his needs. He is my service dog, and if I don’t take care of him, he cannot take care of me.

So, what does everyone do when it’s hot out and the special water bottle is forgotten at home? What I do is buy two bottles of water. I drink one to empty it, and then I pull out my knife and carve the empty bottle into a trough for them to drink out of. I then pour the other bottle slowly into the homemade trough. Keep in mind, your dog is most likely going to spill a lot of the water. The real goal here is to get their temperature down. On average, a dog’s body temp is already 102 degrees. That’s normal for them. There are quick hacks to take care of our dogs if need be. We just have to use creativity and a pinch of common sense. Maybe a dog first-aid course might be something we can all do for the “just in case” ordeals that can happen.

Let’s say your dog is overheated and down panting and the situation is worsening, what needs to be done? First, I would, if possible, provide a cool, shaded area for my dog.

After doing a quick assessment, I would begin to wet their paws and give them some water in their mouths. That’s the beginning of

treating their overheated bodies. Never pour cool or cold water over their heads! The shock from the cold could kill them. Now water can be gently poured over their body to help cool them. Be sure to do this slowly and gently. Stay away from their heads unless giving them some water to drink. This is the basic stuff everyone should remember. If it is becoming an emergency that needs medical attention, get them to a veterinarian ASAP.

Another idea to keep in mind for our canine family is “booties” for the feet because the pavement is hot and they can blister their feet. Even in winter, we should consider this. While hot summer days can blister their feet, cold winters can give them frostbite, not to mention they could hurt their feet on rock salt or ice. One more thing, it would not hurt all dog owners to be more prepared by keeping our own emergency medical kit to keep on hand.

Stay cool and enjoy yourselves this summer. I hope this article helps prepare us all and makes us aware. See y’all next month.

By: Joel Allen