Owners must pay close attention to their hunting dogs during the hot summer months. While on the field, it can be easy to overlook the heat of the day. However, we should not overlook our hunting companion’s actions and signs that may indicate heat exhaustion or heatstroke. To help you prepare for that next summer hunt, we are going to address a few important questions about exhaustion in hunting dogs.
How do I know if my dog is experiencing heat exhaustion or heatstroke?
Unfortunately, heat exhaustion and heatstroke are rather common among canines in the summer months. It’s important to note that exhaustion is what is experienced before heatstroke. To know if your dog is experiencing either, you should know the signs.
Symptoms of heat exhaustion include excessive panting, dehydration, excessive drooling, fever, bright red, gray, purple or blue-tinted gums, trouble urinating, rapid pulse, shivering or shaking, lethargy, vomiting or diarrhea and dizziness. With all of these symptoms, your dog is sure to be acting different than the norm and may appear ill, fatigued or both. If your hunting dog is showing signs of exhaustion, do not ignore them.
If symptoms of exhaustion are ignored, they can lead to heatstroke. Heatstroke is a serious condition that should not be taken lightly. The symptoms are similar to heat exhaustion but much more severe.
What should I do if my hunting dog is experiencing heat exhaustion?
If your dog appears to be experiencing exhaustion, it’s important to move them to a cool, shaded spot and provide them with water. It is recommended that water is not only provided for drinking but also to help cool down the dog’s body temp. You can drop small amounts of cool water on your dog’s belly, ears, neck and face to help.
If the dog’s symptoms don’t improve or get worst, take them to a vet immediately.
What should I do to help protect my hunting dog from heat exhaustion?
Although you may be spending a lot of time outdoors with your hunting dog, there are steps you can take to help prevent heat exhaustion.
- Keep your canine hydrated. Keep a cooler or bottle of cool, clean drinking water for your dog during the hunt. To make sure they have a clean spot to drink from, opt for a travel bowl that is lightweight and compactable.
- Provide a shaded spot. Find a shaded area at the hunting spot where you and your dog can stop for breaks. A break in the shade goes a long way for a hunting dog and human.
- Keep them cool. In addition to keeping your dog hydrated, you can also keep them cool by adding cool water to their skin. You can add small amounts on their neck, belly, ears and face to help keep their body temp down.
In addition to keeping your dog cool in the summer heat, it’s also crucial that you provide them with a nutritious diet to help withstand the long days. Our Hi-Standard Performance Line has a variety of foods that are packed with protein and fat to help your dog build up the energy they need to locate and pursue game in any season. Learn more about our product offerings on our Performance page.