What should I do when my dog gets too hot?
(Q) I’ve found that my hairy Border Collie-cross gets very hot when in the sun. He pants a lot but refuses to go inside if the whole family is out in the garden. What should I do?
(A) Vet Roberta Baxter says: For most dogs, getting hot in the sunshine is not a problem as long as the dog in question is healthy, and plenty of fresh water is available. Most dogs can adjust to exercise in warm weather, and will choose rest, shade, and a drink when they need to. That said, certain medical conditions can render dogs less able to cope in the heat, and some dogs can get dangerously hot on a warm day.
These dogs include those with heart conditions, respiratory diseases (or Brachycephalic upper airway syndrome — seen in squashed-faced breeds) and those who are overweight. Some dogs also suffer from malignant hyperthermia, which is a genetic inability to regulate body temperature under such conditions. This can be seen in Border Collies and collie-crosses. Also, some dogs are obsessive when it comes to play, and collies can come into this category.
Keep a close eye on your dog in hot weather. Provide him with shady spots so he can stay outside with you, and consider getting him a paddling pool. Try to avoid exercise in hot weather, and consider thinning his coat, although in some dogs a heavy coat aids insulation against heat. If you are concerned that he is becoming overheated, check his core temperature with a rectal thermometer to make sure he is not abnormally hot (it should be 100.5-102.5 degrees F) and consider getting him checked out to make sure he is not hyperthermic, remembering this can be an emergency.