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I received an email from one of the instructors where Robin and I attend "pick-up" classes --attend now and again for fun and socializing -- about the dangers of this heat wave for dogs. She had some very good advice which I would have loved to have "cut and pasted" into a thread here, but since I didn't write it, can't do it....so .... thought we might create our own thread of best tips for beating the heat and warning signs of heat exhaustion?

 

Our best tip is to stay inside in the AC...but I do take them out for a bit during the day...they go for a dip in our little frog pond then sit on the porch by a fan and crunch on ice and drink cold water because I do think they should have some idea that the temperature isn't constantly cool and comfortable otherwise, they'd flop over like fish if I did have to take them out.

 

We go out again about sundown, chase around a bit for some exercise until dark.

 

Liz

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Outdoors - low activity, use of shade, use of water to keep the dogs cool!

 

I try to keep them in until after sundown, but often they want to go out earlier, and I really enjoy being out in the heat, so we just keep things brief, wet, and in the shade.

 

Indoors - air conditioning, fans, and shade on the sun-side windows.

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I do take mine out in the heat, but wisely. Limited amount of time, limited exercise/play in the heat. Plenty of water and common sense. I don't like to keep them in the AC constantly, or I feel it will make it harder for them when they are outside. We save the evening time for frisbee and ball, and obviously watch closely for signs of overheating. I do work sheep/ducks with them, even in the heat of summer, but go early and take breaks where they can get in the water.

 

Signs of overheating: glassy eyes, tongue hanging out and curling up at the end (this is a sure sign in my dog), panting, wobbliness. If you get to the point of wobbliness, that's too far and time to get the dog cooled down immediately. I watch the dog and err on the side of caution.

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It's been un-tenable here lately. Basically, the heat + humidtiy = heat index of low 100s. That means absolutely no sheepdog training- it would abuse to work the animals in this heat, and only a wee bit of being outside.

 

I took a vid of my guys "playing" outside, and it consisted of small amounts of "working" another dog, getting a drink, following cat, getting a drink and so on and so forth.

 

As to heat exhaustion- with my Danny boy who's a BC, I watch his breathing- he breathes VERY rapidly, we stop. My Kelpie hops in the stock tank, and is fine. Danny takes minutes to cool off.

 

Basically, in heat like this, you have to be cruel to be kind; that is, don't allow the possibility of over heating, even though they *really* want to run.

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When playing outdoors I look for the signs: dilated pupils, toungue hanging out and tip curled, the tongue turning a dark red... when the tongue starts getting darker and the eyes start dilating I stop, go inside and cool off my dog or spray them down with a hose.

 

I usually play in the shade or late evening and only for a short time as it is too hot and muggy here right now. Some of the dogs are getting some pool time instead.

 

I was told you should actually not feed ice cubes to overheated dogs but can't remember the exact reason - something about the core temp or something. I have also been told you should not just let them lie in water when they are hot as it does not help cool them down and could cause them to warm up more again I can't remember the reason.

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I do work my dogs in the heat, mostly because you never know when mother nature will crap on your head and end up delivering awful temperatures on a trial weekend. Same with rain -- I try to work occasionally in the rain to teach the dogs to be safe with their footing (not slide everywhere) and so they know they won't melt.

 

Their waiting area (while I work another dog) is in the shade with a large bucket of fresh, cold water that they have free access to. Turns are kept very short and I do frequent rotations. Afterwords, we play with the hose! :rolleyes: It's much harder on me than it is on them, believe me.

 

We also go for a walk daily at 11:30 a.m. (they come to work, that's my break time). I figure that's a good way for them to acclimate to the heat of the day. We take it slower and go a little shorter distance on the wicked days.

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It's been brutally hot here the last couple of days. Tuesday I think it actually went up to 107. May not seem that much to those of you in Nevada or Arizona, but remember to factor in the humidity in the mid-Atlantic.

 

We've been restricting walks/play outdoors to early in the morning or late in the evening, after it's cooled off into the 80s. Shorter walks than usual, at a more sedate pace. The only "fetch" has been for sticks in the stream. Duncan has finally learned to swim (I thought it would never happen!); today he swam way out, in water that was well over his head, after a stick half a dozen times, so I'm pretty sure he's "gotten" it. I can tell that he isn't getting overheated while swimming because he didn't even pant afterwards.

 

We do have a big stock tank out in our back yard, but I won't let him out in the yard during the day right now, even though it's shaded, because it's too hot for him to be outdoors unsupervised at the moment (and I'm trying to get through a mountain of work). I don't trust him to know when it's time to leave off chasing after squirrels or chipmunks or deer, or even the sticks he finds. It's better in the evening, and he loves splashing in the stock tank, which helps keep him cooler.

 

The other thing I've been told is to feed dogs early in the morning and late at night - not in the heat. We tend to do that anyway.

 

We don't tend to keep our AC cranked up in the house - 80 to 85 degrees. This is much to save the ice caps as to save on electricity bills. My office is also pretty warm; they claim they're trying to do their part to counter emissions that exacerbate air pollution, though the subject line on the email we got warning us to expect warmer temps was telling, as it claimed it was to "control costs".

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We don't tend to keep our AC cranked up in the house - 80 to 85 degrees. This is much to save the ice caps as to save on electricity bills. My office is also pretty warm; they claim they're trying to do their part to counter emissions that exacerbate air pollution, though the subject line on the email we got warning us to expect warmer temps was telling, as it claimed it was to "control costs".

 

I've got to pass on that "control cost" memo to DH....he's a contractor so when he gets home he wants it COLD inside....he's got it set to drop down to about 72 around this time of day so it's thoroughly cooled off when he arrives home....I just came upstairs for a sweater and some long johns :rolleyes: (but then my internal thermostat's a bit off even this long after the chemo...) I argue that it's a endless circle....if he didn't want it so cold, the bill wouldn't be so high, and he wouldn't have to work so hard.....

 

 

Kim....regarding not feeding an overheated dog ice, I'm guessing it's because an overheated dog can go into shock if you try too cool them down too quickly -- i.e. put them in cold water... mine just chomp on it as an afternoon treat.

 

Headed outside to warm up....guess it won't take more than three minutes...

Liz

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Hi folks ~

 

To echo others before me, overheating warning signs include: elevated and rapid panting, tongue turning deeper red, tongue hanging out longer and wider than usual with a curl at the end, lack of focus when you try to get their attention. If they get to staggering and weaving on their feet, get thee hence to a vet NOW.

 

I believe it's the idea of ice water that's viewed as not good for dogs. I reject outright the notion that letting a dog soak in cool or room-temperature water is at all bad for them, simply for the squillions of times I've watched my dogs soak and visibly cool their core body temperature.

 

However, by coincidence, I just read an article from a German Shepherd club, where they talked about the ice water question. The short version: ice water is too drastic a shock to an overheated dog's system, and it can cause the dog's stomach to contract just like our muscles contract and clench up, if we fall into icy water. Thus the dog isn't being cooled at all. I imagine immersion into a tub of ice water could cause much the same problem: muscle spams rather than cooling.

 

But here in northern Nevada, I am all for letting a warm dog have a good long swim in the ditch or soak in a water tank. I just don't look for the icy-cold stuff. I will also hose a dog off, if he's gotten hot, paying special attention to the underside of his belly and the insides of his thighs.

 

Otherwise, I let my dogs be outside all day, where they "brush" up in shade on the cool lawn and under the bushes where they dig damp earthen nests. I restrict my sheep work to the early morning, don't entice them to playtime or running around the property unless it's cool morning or cool afternoon/evening, and generally encourage them to stay mellow during the heat of the day.

 

If I lived where the heat index is 120 or worse, like Las Vegas or the humid deep South, then I'd probably be fussier about wanting them indoors with the AC. But I don't like too much AC, as I think it makes the shock of being outdoors harder on them, just as it's hard on me. It's actually when I'm driving that I most worry about AC and keeping my dogs cool, and sometimes stop to let them have a swim if it's going to be a long drive. Otherwise, they're pretty savvy about laying low when we're quietly at home.

Cheers ~

 

Gloria

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Someone on the forum advised that we all acclimate a few years ago - and honestly, that's all I do for heat and cold. If I go into really cool homes, the heat feels absolutely MISERABLE when I come out. But if I open all my windows and run a fan, after a couple days, my body gets used to the new "normal" and doesn't feel so done in by it. Ditto in the winter with the cold temperatures. You can tolerate a lot, if you wear socks and sweaters and such.

 

Buddy just lies on the wood floor when it's hot. I run a fan. We walk early a.m. and latish evening. There's no way he'll get overheated at those times of day, even when it's in the 90s.

 

Working dogs - another story, obviously.

 

Mary

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It's been so hot here in Jersey that Mick has been driving me INSANE. He wants to just go go go even with the heat, and I'm not letting him. Sinead has been content just to lay around. My house doesn't have air conditioning either. It's been terrible.

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I hose mine down before we go outside for a really short play session. (My phone says it is currently 112 degrees) We usually don't have that play session until it is dark or early in the morning. We have lots of solar lights in the back yard. Even the dogs don't want to do anything when it is hot. We keep our house at 83 degrees in the summer.

 

As for the eating early in the morning or late at night. My appetite vanishes due to the heat during they day, I don't see why it wouldn't for dogs.

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I love AC and am not slow to use it, though I know that isn't green of me. I make up for it by being ridiculously cheap about the heat in winter. Mainly I like it cool in the house.

 

With the heat we've had lately, I restrict Quinn's play to morning and evening for short games with water always available. He has poor heat tolerance, maybe from living in a meat locker or maybe genetics or maybe his diet. Maybe all those things. Whatever the reason, I'm super careful about how he's handles warmer temps. I've known 5 dogs who've died from heat stroke in the past five years and it's left me pretty freaked out on the subject.

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Bess is out in the mornings until around 11 or 12. She has a kiddie pool which I can't convince her to lie in, but she will dig in it and splash her belly to cool off. When we walk, I always allow her to get into the lake for a little while and then she gets a little wind from walking to air cool her engine. she is outside again in the evening after 9 or so for a hour or so in the cool of the evening.

 

Monday, it was rainy, very humid and pretty warm out. We were at my oldest son's home, and she wanted to go out and play a bit, so I let her chase a ball in the afternoon. Well, she started to pant real fast when she came in, so I put a cool damp washcloth on the tummy/inner thighs area which isn't very hairy...cooled her down a little that way and demanded she lie still for awhile... meany cause she wanted to play with his little spaniels, but I wouldn't allow her to run around any more after that.

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Working dogs - another story, obviously.

I will work my dogs in the heat. Obviously I don't do that in the hottest part of the day, and the deciding factor is the welfare of the sheep, but sometimes work *needs* to be done (vs. training), so it gets done. I move the sheep out of the fenced pasture and into unfenced grazing areas--this requires work from my dogs, so they do it as needed. As I was leaving for a trial a few weeks ago, I was checking a lamb and noticed a sheep with the beginning of bottle jaw. So the dog and I had to get the whole flock up and worm them--at 2 p.m. But the alternative was to not treat and perhaps come home at the end of the weekend to seriously anemic sheep. It was hotter than hell that day (that was the weekend when temps were in the 100s), but that's an example of work that needs to be done and can't really be put off. As others have said, you just have to be mindful of the signs the dog is getting hot.

 

As for soaking in a tub, if the dog is hot, the word is that the initial jumping in does have a cooling effect, but then the water closest to the dogs body stays trapped there and warms up and so loses its cooling effects. So you need to either keep swishing the water around in the tub or hose the dog off.

 

I am another person who rarely turns on the air conditioning. This is mainly for economic/environmental reasons, but as someone who needs to be able to work outdoors (farm work doesn't care about the weather) I figure it doesn't hurt any of us to be acclimated to the heat and humidity (and when I do turn the air on, it's mainly for the health and comfort of my oldest critters--the 15 y.o. dog and 17-y.o. cat). I also take the dogs on several walks a day around the back of the property. They want to go no matter how hot it is (more than I do!), so we go. They don't just mosey along on these walks, but run, chase things, wrestle with each other and so on. I don't usually worry about them when they're doing this. The one exception to this is the geriatric dogs. But even Jill, at nearly 14, still comes on several walks a day, even in the extreme heat. It's her choice, but I do keep an eye on her.

 

I do have a small creek where the dogs can cool off at one point on our walk. They have access to stock tanks in the yard and pasture. I honestly believe that keeping them in an air conditioned house all the time only makes it more difficult on them when we have to go out and do stuff, so I avoid that as much as I can. Like many other things, we create animals who have different tolerances for their environment based on how we keep them. For me, it makes sense to let them be active, within reason, in extremely hot weather because they need to be able to do that at times.

 

ETA: When I do turn on the air, the thermostat is set at 84-85, so while it feels cooler when you come in from temps in the upper 90s, it's not exactly cool in here--you do anything physical like vacuum and you will sweat. I think that also is beneficial for my health and that of my dogs (re: acclimation). But it does cut the humidity some, and it is more pleasant than having all the windows open....

 

J.

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Julie- good points, and I would imagine that you don't use a unsettled young dog to move the sheep for doctoring/pasture management, in this weather, right? That makes a heck of a lot of difference. As to a/c, I will never be without it. And, I spent years working on farms for a living :rolleyes:

I *must* get sleep at night, and if I am too hot to sleep, I don't...

 

My sheep haven't really been grazing, that I can see this entire week. I think they would be rather annoyed at me if I made them move :D

 

ETA: We have had a break in the heat- only in the lower 90s, so I actually went out and recreated with the dogs!

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Hey Julie,

Actually I used Ranger yesterday to push the training sheep over to the field where everyone else was grazing after I was done working him, but you're right that I wouldn't do complicated tasks that required a lot of self control (but I always jump at the chance to do practical work with a youngster, as long as it's not complicated). But with temps starting out in the mid-to-upper 70s in the mornings, if you get up before sunrise and work a dog right around sunrise, the temps aren't too much for any of us, even with extreme humidity. Once the sun is good and up and the day heats up, only absolutely necessary work would be done.

 

FWIW, I was raised without a/c, and as a result I actually tend to freeze in air-conditioned buildings. I prefer being hot to being cold. Yep, it can be pretty hot and humid some nights, but ceiling fans and regular fans (and very little clothing) make it tolerable. And I guess because I'm used to it, it doesn't make it too difficult for me to get to sleep.

 

J.

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What's A/C? Our 190 year old house does not have central air and we did not have window units until this week. I have been reluctant to run high current appliances on our old wiring (cloth covered 2 conductor wires). We did buy a window unit this week for our bedroom (using an extension cord to a new outlet in another room) after three nights that cooled off to the low 80s in the house from highs in the low 100s. The dogs are suffering along side us. We have worked our at 6:30am or 8:30pm to move sheep out of the barn to a new grazing location (one of the few places we still have green grass). We haven't worked them much, mostly because I am off this week to do projects around the farm. What I have done is worked on pace while driving and correct flanks while balancing.

 

Mark

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Someone on the forum advised that we all acclimate a few years ago - and honestly, that's all I do for heat and cold. If I go into really cool homes, the heat feels absolutely MISERABLE when I come out.

 

Good advice... When DH goes out, he stays out...hot or cold weather, but once he's in for the day, he's in just for that reason...can't go back out and work in the heat, or he'll get sick. (note, he does have some breathing problems that make it difficult for him in the heat, so I shouldn't pick on him :rolleyes: )

 

I do have my mutts outside and active a great deal, but when the temperature peaks way above or below average for our area, we go into "our cave". I've noticed that Brodie, who has the lightest coat of the three dogs, is more weather tolerant...I would have expected him to be more heat tolerant because his coat is lighter, but he was also the one lolling out in the cold taking snow baths when I was getting ready to knit him a sweater because I thought his coat wasn't heavy enough!

 

 

No one has yet mentioned avoiding walking the dog on hot pavement to avoid burning their pads....

 

Liz

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What's A/C? Our 190 year old house does not have central air and we did not have window units until this week. I have been reluctant to run high current appliances on our old wiring (cloth covered 2 conductor wires). We did buy a window unit this week for our bedroom (using an extension cord to a new outlet in another room) after three nights that cooled off to the low 80s in the house from highs in the low 100s. The dogs are suffering along side us. We have worked our at 6:30am or 8:30pm to move sheep out of the barn to a new grazing location (one of the few places we still have green grass). We haven't worked them much, mostly because I am off this week to do projects around the farm. What I have done is worked on pace while driving and correct flanks while balancing.

 

Mark

 

I finally got my mother to agree to install an air conditioner in her bedroom.....she said when she was growing up...when it got too hot in the farm house, she and her sister would take their blankets and lie on the lawn at night, waiting for a breeze.

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When houses were built prior to the invention of A/C people spent time considering where to place and orient their house to minimize exposure to the southern sun (in warmer climates) and to catch the breezes. We get a nice evening breeze coming through our house which typically cools it nicely at sunset; as long as the nighttime temps dip into the mid 70s we're comfortable without A/C. That has not been the case for the past 5 days.

 

One of the previous residents of our house told me he and his Grandfather used to sleep on the second floor porch when it got this hot.

 

The heat has limited how much we've been able to get done this week while I've been off work; the heat has made it impossible for us to get a good night sleep between long days of projects.

 

I guess I've stalled long enough; it's time to go work on my barn project.

 

Mark

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As JP does, I also work the dogs as needed to care for the sheep. For example, if I spot a lamb that needs dewormer at lunch it gets it then, not after dark.

 

Primarily I use the trained dogs, but I also use young dogs as much as time (my time to be patient) will allow. Nothing makes a better point to an "ants in the pants" youngster like heat does. Suddenly racing about is not so much fun and they start to think before they dash.

 

I also free graze the sheep in the evenings now, and it's outrun, pressure to turn, settle down, cover, settle...slow, steady, over, and over, and over. Every wasted step will be paid for in burning lungs and legs later.

 

It take judgement on my part of what is too much. I am careful. I send my dogs to water before they have to ask or override me if I possibly can.

 

Work doesn't stop because it's summer. And all work is training.

 

I prefer the house to be around 80 in the daytime right now. with a/c and ceiling fans At night it's programmed to drop to 75.

 

 

 

Hey Julie,

Actually I used Ranger yesterday to push the training sheep over to the field where everyone else was grazing after I was done working him, but you're right that I wouldn't do complicated tasks that required a lot of self control (but I always jump at the chance to do practical work with a youngster, as long as it's not complicated). But with temps starting out in the mid-to-upper 70s in the mornings, if you get up before sunrise and work a dog right around sunrise, the temps aren't too much for any of us, even with extreme humidity. Once the sun is good and up and the day heats up, only absolutely necessary work would be done.

 

FWIW, I was raised without a/c, and as a result I actually tend to freeze in air-conditioned buildings. I prefer being hot to being cold. Yep, it can be pretty hot and humid some nights, but ceiling fans and regular fans (and very little clothing) make it tolerable. And I guess because I'm used to it, it doesn't make it too difficult for me to get to sleep.

 

J.

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Due to the cost of my electric bill, and the fact that our central a/c is on it's last legs, we've been keeping it about 78 the past two summers. I like it that warm, but my whiney-baby husband took some time to acclimate. Like others have mentioned, I think it's better for us all around that way, including the dogs.

 

(I'd actually keep it warmer, but I don't want to be divorced. :rolleyes:)

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she said when she was growing up...when it got too hot in the farm house, she and her sister would take their blankets and lie on the lawn at night, waiting for a breeze.

I mentioned to a friend the other day how nice it would be to have a sleeping porch--it still gets relatively pleasant outside at night and sleeping on a screened porch would be lovely!

 

J.

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Dear Doggers,

 

Like Julie I'm in the acclimatize school (though i write this in an A/C hotel and my sweat isn't dripping into the keys.)

 

Our farm's in the mountains so 100 degrees is infrequent. We have a window a/c in an upstairs bedroom but I sleep without it. A quick shower cools me down enough to sleep. The dogs are fine. Last two weekends I've trialed in 95 degrees. Short- 8 minute - courses. As long as the dogs are kept cool between runs (space blanket is REQUIRED) I've seen no dog distress but I have seen sheep who'd had enough.

 

Fortunately there was a river to cool them after the NH trial. Even so, with 9 1/2 year old Luke's bad heart, I pop him into the front floorboards afterwards and turn the A/C to Max.

 

Today, in Vermont, the car A/C quit. When I explained about the dogs to Manchester mechanics, they moved me to the front of the line and fixed it.

 

Someone suggested that when they get wobbly in the hindquarters, get them to a vet. Unless you're right next door to a vet clinic that's unworkable advice - cool them down quick as you can.

 

A couple years ago at the Bluegrass, it was so hot you could retire with all your points, which I'd done with Luke. We waited to exhaust for the next dog who was in trouble in the shedding ring - unresponsive and wobbly. The handler finally ran out of time and the dog stumbled for the cooling tank which had about four inches of tepid water in it. We were alone down there. No atv no radios

 

Fortunately, the Bluegrass had provided a cooler of iced water for the handlers. As I was pouring bottle after bottle over his dog and cupping ice around his dog's testicles, its handler was telling me, in detail, about the dog's breeding.

 

Next day the trial committee was on the alert but the handler didn't return.

 

Donald McCaig

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