Labor Day was a the end of a long weekend and I was coming down from the “I Wrote A Book!” high and listening to my interview on The Groomer Next Door when my world nearly came crashing down. Through a series of mistakes that I made, Scout became over heated and nearly collapsed. I know that this is very dangerous and all summer I have seen stories of dogs dying from the hot temperatures.
Mistake One: Not Checking the Temperature
I knew it was going to be a hot day so I kept paying attention to the temperature on my phone – it was 75 degrees when we headed outside. J and I struggled to try and bathe the dogs outside (my idea) and eventually gave up and bathed them inside and planned to let them hang out in the yard to dry off.
When the dogs were bathed, I grabbed my phone and earbuds, a ChuckIt! Launcher and balls, and headed to the part of our property away from the pond.
I should have checked the temperature again. I was stuck on 75 degrees – it was closer to 85 degrees.
Mistake Two: Being Away from the Pond
The dogs had all had a bath so I played with them in a different part of the property. I didn't want to run Scout too hard because it was going to be a hot day. What I didn't realize was that it was already too hot and I should have been playing with him near the pond so that he could cool down when he needed a break and get a drink of water.
We had only been outside for about 20 minutes and he wasn't running that hard so I thought we were safe. Until I realized we weren't. It all happened so quickly.
Thankfully, I didn't compound the situation by continuing to make mistakes.
How We Knew Scout was Overheated
- Scout was disoriented and walking like he was drunk.
- Scout's tongue was darker in color than usual.
- Scout was panting excessively.
- Scout was having trouble standing and his back legs were shaking.
This weekend, I saw two stories on Facebook about dogs dying from the heat and I didn't want Scout to be added to that list. We had to act fast.
How to Cool Down a Dog that's Overheated
Whenever one of the dogs is in trouble, J and I jump into Team Work mode. He brought Scout outside to the hose while I grabbed my phone and Googled the steps to cool down a dog. We alternated between the water hose and the pond. We hosed down his neck, back, legs, and armpits for about 30 seconds. We then walked to the pond (not a long walk) so that Scout could stand in the water for a couple minutes. At first, he couldn't swim so we stayed close.
We then let Scout lay in the shade, with water nearby, making sure he drank slowly. Dogs that are overheating may gulp water, which raises the risk of bloat.
We did this over and over, giving Scout a break each time, for about 40-45 minutes – we probably did the water treatment four times. When his panting calmed and the coloring of his tongue and gums returned to normal, we dried him off and took him inside.
Benefit of Having Cooling Pads for Your Dog
The folks at The Green Pet Shop were kind enough to gift me with two large cooling pads for our dogs. I know plenty of people who have tried these and they've shared that their dogs hated the texture (they're slippery) or laid next to it, but not on it. I expressed my concerns with The Green Pet Shop and they sent along covers for the cooling pads.
When they arrived, I laid one in a spot that Rodrigo favors and one on our Big Barker Bed. I wish we had four cooling pads because the dogs love them!!!!
When we brought Scout inside, he marched straight to the Big Barker bed to lay on his cooling pad and took a nap. He alternated between the two cooling pads for the rest of the afternoon and evening.
If you feel that your dog can benefit from a cooling pad, go with the one by The Green Pet Shop. There are a lot of options available and after my experience, I think the best one is the one we're using.
- CLICK HERE to see The Green Pet Shop cooling pads on Amazon.com
Recovery Period After a Dog Over Heats
I called my friend and holistic veterinarian, Laurie Coger DVM, to let her know what happened, what we did, and to learn what we needed to do. She let me know that we cooled him down the right way – gradually and by apply water to his neck and extremities. She gave me the following steps to follow:
1 – Scout ate a light dinner, nothing new or exotic. He had ground duck wings, green tripe/organ blend, and goat's milk.
2 – We made sure he continued to drink (not gulp) fresh water.
3 – Scout was rested for the rest of the day. We took him outside a couple times as the day cooled, but he was only allowed to wade in the pond – no running or fetch.
4 – Scout is on low exercise for the rest of the week and will remain in the house to take advantage of the AC and the cooling pads.
5 – Dr. Coger told us to watch for muscle soreness this week because this experience creates a build up of lactic acid in the muscles. We have DGP for Pets on hand for any pain and I'm adding Ewegurt, a natural supplement for anxious or fearful dogs, to Scout's evening meals to help him relax.
Products that Helped to Save Scout from Heat Exhaustion
The gardening hose and pond did most of the work in getting Scout's temp down and helping him feel better. Keeping cool water on hand and keeping him from drinking too fast helped too. The following products made his recovering a lot easier.
- Cooling Pad – Scout rested on a cooling pad for the rest of the day, which helped keep his body temp down.
- DGP for Pets – for muscle soreness the next day
- Ewegurt – to help Scout rest; he was a bit restless/stressed the day after because he wanted to play (it was still hot)
Thankfully, J is home all week and can keep an eye on Scout, control is activity level, and keep him cool.