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After reading TnKen's post about losing his dog to heat stroke (Gone too Soon), I went back and re-read the post on cooling, but one thing missing from that post was any information on what to look for that would indicate that your dog is beginning to suffer from heat distress. Where I live it is currently about 85 by 7:30 or so in the morn and is hitting 98-102 nearly every afternoon. I try to do about a 5 mile workout four or five days a week and usually take the dog with me. In this hot weather, I make him stay with me and not just run around and my pace is only about a 13 minute mile so he is at a fast walk or slow trot but I do worry a bit about him overheating. Usually somewhere around the 3 or 4 mile mark I will stop and hose him down for a few minutes and then we slow down for the last mile and he usually gets hosed again but I am a bit concerned about hurting him. Anyway it would be nice to have a good discussion on what to watch out for and some idea of what a dog should reasonably be able to stand.
 

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First the tongue gets wider and curls at the edges. When it also gets THICKER, they are pretty warm.

Different dogs display different signs. Best thing is use a digital thermometer and learn what your individual dog looks like when he is warming up. You might be surprised how hot they're running.

JS
 

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I can tell you it can happen very quickly, going from the tongue getting long and curling to down and being semi conscious. Watched it in the field a couple of times, and not EIC even though we didn't have a test at that time, the dogs were tested as soon as it came out. We had an ice chest. I don't know how you could rely on having something available to cool the dog when you are out running. I would be leaving my dog home if it was that hot and go alone.
 
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I think I would leave my dog home during the summer. A few years ago a friend of ours went dove hunting his dog was in the best of shape which he thought would make a difference .. it didnt after two retrieves she went down he did everything he could but she had to be put down. During the humid months down here its just as dangerous to keep them in water
 

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If the water temp is hot, it doesn't cool the dog. If you have a cooler of anything cold--pop, water, ice water--use it.

Elizabeth Dixon wrote an editorial to RN a couple of years ago. She commented that if the dog's tongue is curling up towards its nose, the dog is in distress. If the dog's tongue is hanging down, then not so distressed. I thought this was good advice and something easy to look for between retrieves.
 

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These are good signs to watch for.
I've also seen dogs become very lethargic and urinate on themselves. I think it's important that gums are checked for tackiness. I know many check for color but also check whether they are moist. Heat stroke can come on so sudden but you also need to watch for dehydration. I always carry large bags of ice and lots of extra water this time of year. I've been told that there are minutes in which you need to keep the brain from overheating. I have seen trainers dip towels in ice water and wrap the dogs head for a couple minutes before cooling off the body. Also carry Pedialyte. Water is great to prevent dehydration, but once dehydrated, dogs do need electrolytes.
 

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You really should temp your dog before, during and after work as the weather gets warmer in order to familiarize yourself with his overall look and behavior as it related to body temperature. Some rise much faster than others and some show a lot more symptoms in the field. You can buy and electronic thermometer that takes the dogs temp off it's ear for about $65 I think. This saves on the ****ty situation you sometimes get into with rectal temps.
 

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I've learned it's also very important to consider the temps a dog is acclimated to. I live on the north coast of Cali so the temps are in the 50s and 60s most of the time. Took my dog on a 3 mile hike on a recent sunny day that reached 73. I let him run the fields on either side of the trail following deer scent etc. He was visibly heat distressed with fast panting and giant thick tongue on the way back to the truck. Had to find shade under a bush and make him lie down to cool off. 73 degrees in considered hot to us who live here as we are not used to this. we consider 65 to 68 as perfect. Mind you, my dog is in great shape, he gets conditioning throughout the day every day plus training.

I know this doesn't apply to most of you in the rest of the county, but it really makes a difference what temperature people and dogs are accustomed to. I wouldn't have dreamed that my young dog in great physical shape would be overheated on a short hike at 73 degrees.
 
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