I had the most amazing opportunity to do some hiking in the South Lake Tahoe area the other week and hit up the Mt. Tallac Trail. It was a gorgeous hike and I highly recommend it. Besides the gorgeous views of Lake Tahoe and the surrounding fauna, this hike is also worthwhile in that you can enjoy the 10 mile hike with your dog. Unfortunately, I was not able to enjoy it with Ash or our fur creatures, Copper and Scout. There were a lot of other dogs out on the trail however. Some looked like they were having a blast and others weren’t looking so good. And seeing those poor pups struggling out on the trail is the inspiration for this post.
As a dog owner, it is your responsibility to look after the welfare of your canine companion and to accomplish that task, you need to learn to read your dog. When it comes to dogs overheating or being exhausted there are some clear warning signs to look at for. Before we get to that, lets talk about how dogs cool themselves. Dogs exchange body heat by panting. They do not have sweat glands all over their body as humans do. A second way dogs cool themselves is by dilating their blood vessels in their ears and face, allowing the blood to flow closer to the surface, thereby cooling it.
Signs your dog is getting too hot
- heavy panting
- looking for shade
and if you have a habit checking their gums, they say they turn bright red if they are getting too hot
Ways to cool down your dog
Since you are now able to recognize the signs that your dog is getting too hot, lets talk about how to cool them off.
- stop the activity
- get them into shade
- if you have access to it, get them into some cool water
- otherwise, wet towels work
- while he is cooling with the above methods, give hime cool water to drink
Its important to remember not to use cold water while cooling your dog because cooling your overheating dog too fast can cause his blood vessels to constrict, making it even harder for him to regulate his temperature.
IF IN DOUBT, GET YOUR DOG TO THE VET IMMEDIATELY
Although dogs are pretty hardy creatures, you do not want to mess around with heat exhaustion because it can quickly spiral out of control and cause death. Go out and enjoy life’s adventures with man’s best friend but don’t forget to watch out for them too.