Taffy, my sister Karen’s 14 year-old cocker spaniel, panted with rapid shallow breaths. Something was wrong with the old dog. Taffy refused to go outside or eat treats although she drank a bit of fresh water. Karen thought Taffy was suffering from the heat since it was a very warm day in northern California. But it had been this hot before and Taffy hadn’t had any problems.
Karen placed Taffy in an air-conditioned room and closed the door. But after a half hour, Taffy still panted and seemed restless, so Karen called her daughter, a vet tech. She also thought Taffy was just hot. My sister kept Taffy in the air-conditioned room for a few hours and eventually the dog fell asleep and woke up feeling fine. Karen took Taffy to the vet the next day. The vet did a thorough work up and pronounced the dog in good health.
It probably was the heat.
How to cool your hot dog
- Get a 20-inch box fan and put it on the floor in the kitchen or someplace where there is a tile floor. My dogs love to lie in front of it to keep cool. Karen said she hadn’t thought about a fan.
- Buy a cool bed—a waterbed for your dog. It works by taking the heat out of their body and
transferring it to the water. The cool bed doesn’t work well when it is in the sun or after it warms. I usually store it in the basement to keep it cool until needed. I also use several cool beds when driving long distances in a cramped car. Even with the air conditioning on, the dogs get hot in the car and the cool bed makes them more comfortable.
- Try a cool vest on your dog. I have used one with the cool bed when I had to leave my dog in the car (always in the shade) for a short period when it was warm.
- Get your dog wet with the hose or even a
bath. My springer loved her plastic kiddie pool. Just change the water several times a day since they often drink out of it. We called it her walk in water dish.
- Give your dog plenty of fresh, cool water. Change their water more often in hot weather since it gets nasty from their slobber.
- Leave the air conditioning on if possible, or allow them access to the basement or an area with cool tile, like the kitchen or bathroom.
- Consider shaving your dog. I have found that shaving my spaniels makes a huge difference in their tolerance of the heat. It also removes mats and makes it easier to find fleas and ticks.