Saturday, June 24, 2006

A reminder about dogs and overheating

I took my dog for a walk this morning, nothing unusual there, we normally walk/run 2-3 miles every day. But today something really weird happened. When we set out around 9am, it wasn't too warm yet, I even had a sweatshirt on at first. But I noticed the dog was already panting after 10 minutes of walking, so I decided not to run. She's still blowing her coat and even a little warmth might be uncomfortable for her. We walked 1.5 miles, then when we turned around to start back home, boom, she sat down and wouldn't move. No amount of coaxing, cajoling and threatening could make her move. This is a dog who is normally gogogo all the time. I got her into some shade and we kicked back for awhile, but even after she'd rested and stopped panting, she refused to go any further. I ended up taking her to the nearest house and getting her some water, and the homeowner was kind enough to drive us home. Then I put Sitka on the cold tile floor and put a fan on her, and she stayed there all afternoon. Even when she had to go outside and pee, she'd want to come back in immediately.

This was a scary reminder of how easily dogs can overheat. When we set out, I never would have thought it could be warm enough to cause heatstroke. But it got really hot, really fast. Combine that with the fact that Sitka still has a lot of her winter coat due to an unusually cold spring, and there's a recipe for heatstroke. Next time I'll (a)make sure she hydrates properly before we go, and (b)take water with me.