Summer is finally here! And along with the sunshine, comes the heat. While we may enjoy hot summer days, our canine friends may not. Dogs are more sensitive to heat exhaustion or heat stroke than humans. While we sweat to cool our internal body temperature, dogs pant to reduce theirs. Keep in mind that the most at risk for overheating or heat stroke are the younger dogs, the old, the obese, Dobermans with black hair, and Dobermans with certain medical conditions.
So how do you know when your Doberman is reaching a critical health emergency like heat stroke?
A dog’s normal body temperature is about 99-102 degrees F or 37-38 degrees Celcius. Anything above 104 degrees F is cause for concern and at over 106 degrees, you are looking at a possible deadly temperature. If you have a rectal thermometer available you can quickly assess how badly your dog is suffering.
Call your vet or emergency animal clinic right away if you notice these symptoms of heatstroke: heavier than usual panting, salivation, vomiting, diarrhea, and discolored gums.
Also keep in mind, that like humans, your dog can get sunburned, especially the nose on Doberman dogs. Their paws also need attention. Test hot pavement with your own bare feet, if you’re not sure if it’s safe for your dog.
If it’s too hot for you, it may burn the pads on your dog’s paws.
Help your Doberman handle the heat with these tips.
- Move him to a shady spot or indoors. Don’t assume he’ll know to move out of the sun himself or stop over-exercising.
- Use a spray bottle and mist him with water
- Use fans to direct a breeze onto your dog
- Buy a cooling pad/cooling vest or wet a towel and have your dog lie on it.
- Apply wet cloths or towels to his body or a wet bandana to his neck
- Place an ice pack or bag of frozen peas on your dog’s neck
- If you don’t have air conditioning in your home, place your dog in an air-conditioned car. Stay with him and have the vent directed at his body.
- Get a children’s swimming pool
- Place ice cubes in your dog’s water dish
- Place ice cubes inside a kong toy
- Place ice packs to the dog’s armpits and groin where major blood vessels are.
- Give your dog ice cubes to lick or make special frozen treats for dogs
- Monitor your dog’s breathing and heart and be prepared to give artificial respiration and CPR.
My black and tan Doberman seems to love sun tanning. I make sure on extremely hot days to monitor her for overheating. Remember dogs can’t tell us they’re not feeling well, it’s up to us as responsible owners to know when they need help.
How do you keep your Doberman cool in the summer? Do you have any neat ideas for handling summer heat?