Mid-summer generally is time-off for hunting dogs, but that doesn’t mean they should be forgotten.
They still need regular exercise, they need shelter from the heat and sun and their time in the field needs to be limited in scope and monitored closely.
Summertime housing for dogs kept outside needs to provide shade and ventilation. Sun screens designed to cover wire kennels can be surprisingly effective. Traveling with a dog in the heat requires close attention and you need to be prepared to care for your dog if you break down and have to wait for help. Don’t turn your travel kennel into a coffin.
One piece of advice for sportsmen with young dogs is to teach them early on to drink from a water bottle or other portable water source. In the field, dogs need to keep hydrated and need to keep their mouths wet to help them stay cool. Stopping to fill a bowl is time consuming and dumping fresh cool water into a hot dusty bowl defeats the purpose of providing nice cool water.
Summer exercise for dogs is best done early in the morning, preferably at or before sunrise, when the temperatures are coolest. Keep your outings short, have plenty of water on-hand and watch your dog closely for early signs of heat stroke.
Heat stroke can come on quickly and it can cause irreversible damage. High-powered dogs sometimes go at such a pace that it is hard to know when they are fading. The next thing you know they’ve collapsed and may be having seizures. Early signs are excessive drooling, foaming at the mouth, dry gums and labored panting.
A simple rule of thumb when it’s hot is to watch the dog closely and if anything seems “off” about your dog, it’s simply best to retreat to the shade and give them water and rest.
Another mistake made by some dog owners in the Oklahoma heat is to think that because a dog is wet it will stay cool or that a dip in a pond or lake will keep their temperature down. Remember that the water in Oklahoma lakes and ponds often reaches temperatures of 80 and 90 degrees. Swimming in water that warm is not a means of cooling down.
What’s most important is realizing the threat is real and serious. If your dog does go down in the heat, cool its body quickly by whatever means available and get your veterinarian on the phone as soon as possible.
Temperatures over 100 degrees aren’t fun for anyone, but with common sense and a close eye your furry best friend can do just fine in Oklahoma’s heat.
Read more from this Tulsa World article at http://www.tulsaworld.com/sportsextra/article.aspx?subjectid=25&articleid=20120722_25_B9_hrimgs363742&rss_lnk=2