Is my pet too hot?

Recognizing heat exhaustion is critical in the summer time.⁠

Be mindful of your pet, as they cannot talk for themselves. Are they having a hard time catching their breath? Are they looking like they are about to pass out?⁠

Signs of exhaustion include red gums, excessive drooling / panting, irregular heart beat, vomiting / diarrhea, disorientation, lethargy, or collapse.⁠

Be sure to take frequent breaks and provide lots of water when outside in the heat.⁠

Should you ever wonder if your pet is too hot, take their temperature: a dog's resting temp should be 101-102.5. A horse's normal temp is 99-101.⁠

Should your pet be over 103, phone your nearest emergency vet for advice.⁠

Can you imagine walking around in 100+ degrees in a fur coat? Neither can I!⁠

Remember: pets only sweat from their nose and their feet.⁠

To help them cool off after a brisk walk, apply a cool rag the bottom of the feet or wipe the paw pads with an alcohol wipe, This will speed up the loss of heat from the skin.⁠

Ice cold water should NOT be used when trying to cool off your pet⁠

Under the skin are small blood vessels called capillaries. When your pet is too hot, these vessels will widen in an effort to dissipate heat over a larger surface area.⁠

Applying ice to the skin will actually shrink these vessels down too quickly, which can cause undue stress on the pet's system (not to mention, minimizing blood flow!)⁠

It is best to use a gradual approach, such as luke warm water. Apply a cool rag or continuously run tepid water (such as from a hose) along the areas circled to help your pet cool down.⁠

To scrape or not to scrape.... that is the question.⁠

Newer research studies are actually suggesting NOT to scrape your horses.⁠

Why is this?⁠

Because, when it comes to cooling down your horse, conduction is more efficient than evaporation!⁠

Evaporation is where a liquid will to shift into vapor (ex: sweat). Vapor will carry the heat away from the surface as it leaves. This method of cooling is not very efficient when it is humid out, as muggy air is already oversaturated⁠

Conduction is where a cool liquid (ex: water from a hose) will come into contact with your horse's body. This cool liquid will absorb and move the heat. When a liquid leaves your horse's body, it takes heat with it.⁠

So why shouldn't we scrape?⁠

When we scrape our horse, we don't allow any of the applied water to leave the horse's body except by evaporation. This limits the loss of heat, and therefore prevents your horse from achieving ultimate cooling.⁠

It is therefore best to continuously hose your horse while allowing the water to drip off⁠

For best results, maximize both methods of heat loss by hosing your horse and then applying a fan.⁠


Disclaimer: If you think your pet may be overheating, please call your nearest emergency vet. These tips are not to substitute veterinary advice⁠


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