Hydration is a key part of caring for your dog, but in summer it becomes even more important. Their drinking bowl should always be available, and the water should be changed either daily or a few times a day to make sure that it stays fresh.
Dogs only have sweat glands on their paw pads and don’t sweat through the skin like we do. They regulate their body temperature by panting.
In summer, water, water and more water
Dogs are very vulnerable, as it’s difficult for them to lose the amount of heat they need. Their most efficient cooling system is their mouth.
A dog’s body is able to detect excess heat. Their normal temperature ranges between 38°C and 39°C, but when they’re too hot, warm blood rises up to their tongue to eliminate the excess temperature through the salivary glands, in the form of moisture. If it increases above normal values and the regulatory mechanisms of their body cannot reduce it, they might suffer heat stroke.
Beware of heat stroke
If our four-legged friend doesn’t drink enough water in the summer, their metabolic rate may drop. Consequently, symptoms appear such as tiredness or lethargy, drop in blood pressure, dizziness and even fainting. If the intake continues to be poor and the temperature increases in their environment, the animal may dehydrate and suffer from heat stroke.
Kidney functions can also be severely impaired by poor fluid intake. As kidney damage progresses, the risk of failure increases.
Essential guidelines for responding to heat stroke:
- Wet the dog with water that is neither cold nor hot.
- Try to get them to drink water.
- If possible, put them in front of a fan.
- Take them to the vet as soon as possible.
In any event, the most important thing is to prevent this from happening:
- Never leave your dog in an enclosed area, with poor ventilation, without shade and with no water available, and which receives direct sunlight. Not even for a moment or with the windows slightly down.
- Take extra precautions if they’re more at risk of heat stroke due to their breed or health.
- Don’t force them to exercise in high temperatures.
- Avoid walks when the temperature is very high.
If they do get heat stroke, the idea is to lower their body temperature progressively (never abruptly) so that normal levels are recovered.
To encourage them to drink water, make sure you change it frequently so that they always have fresh and clean water available.