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Hot weather presents some risks that must be properly managed for the safety and health of your working dog. Dogs do not perspire like humans, instead, they shed excess heat through panting. Cooling occurs by evaporation of the dog’s saliva from its tongue.

Hard work, heat, humidity, poor conditioning and stress are major contributors to heat build-up in a dog. Handlers can reduce the amount of heat their dog produces by keeping sessions very short and giving the dog plenty of time to rest and cool off between running.

Some simple preventative measures you can take are: Have plenty of cool water for your dog to drink. Get your dog in the water whenever possible. Use fans to move air in your dog’s wire crate when he is not working. Keep your dog in a shady area when resting. Keep a thermometer in your dog’s crate.

You can take a digital thermometer along in the field and monitor the dog’s temperature frequently. Normal canine body temperature is 101.5 to 102.5 degrees.

Signs of heat stress are: red, widened tongue, elevated body temperature, dog wants to lay down.

If you need to cool your dog in a hurry, it is wise to carry some rubbing alcohol and some chemical ice packs in your first aid kit (you do have one, don’t you?).

To make the alcohol go farther, put it in a squirt or spray bottle. Apply alcohol or ice packs to the following areas; back of the head, jugular veins, groin, arm pits, under side of the ear flaps, and foot pads.

When using any
cooling technique, you need to stop BEFORE the dog's body temperature gets all the way back to normal, or the dog will get hypothermia and go into shock.

Signs of heat stroke are:
Rapid noisy breathing, wobbling gait, stumbling, vomiting, dog on the ground and unable to get up, and body temperature between 104 to 107 degrees. After treating your dog for any of these symptoms, make sure you get it to a vet as soon as possible.
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