Summit Tip - Dog Dehydration and Heat Stroke

Hi Everyone,

I had another tip planned for today but the heat we are experiencing in the Pacific Northwest impacts our dogs as well.  Dogs eliminate heat by panting. They have some sweat glands in the footpads which help with heat dissipation, but only minimally. When panting isn’t enough, their body temperature rises. This can be fatal if not corrected quickly.

A few things:

1). Never leave your dog in the car, even for a few minutes on a day where the temperature outside is above 60 degrees.  It may sound odd for 60 degrees to be the mark point but the temperature in your car will increase quickly and although heat stroke doesn’t usually happen at that low, it can make your car uncomfortable and impact how your dog views future car rides.

2).  If you are taking your dog for walks do so at the coolest parts of the day, early morning or late evening.  This is not only because the temperature of the air is cooler but the ground will be cool for the pads on the their feet.  Remember, if you are not able to comfortably walk barefoot on the cement, your dog shouldn’t either.

3).  Keep water available to your dogs. If you are doing an outing take some water with you and offer it frequently.  They will drink more water during hot weather. HOWEVER, if your dog has been running and/or playing give them small amounts of water frequently. This avoids them tanking up on water and then vomiting it back up or at worse causing bloat.

4).  Most of the Summit dogs like small kiddy pools to splash and play in. Most are labradors after all…...You can get them cheaply at some dollar stores.  One caution is dogs can chew the sides so always observe while your dog is playing. In fact play with them :))  Put ice cubes in the water and watch them bob for cubes. It is very funny to watch :)  Start with the water level low until your dog is comfortable and if they like it you can add more.  Remember to keep it fun!

This first article talks about dehydration.   Sometimes I like to drop some ice cubes in their bowl.  Freedom happens to think ice cubes are a treat so I will give him one or two a day while he hangs out in his exercise pen. He has a great time playing with the cube too.  Another fun idea is to freeze a baby carrot piece in the ice cube.  It ends up being a fun treat for the dogs.

Heat stroke is a serious condition that can happen quickly.  Read the article below and no the signs and how to respond.

Best advice I can give is have fun but be aware of your dogs needs and body language at all times.


Brenda Crispin
Foster Home Coordinator
Summit Assistance Dogs