Monday, May 26, 2014

The Joy of Playing Outside & Playing It Safe in the Heat

I've always loved playing outside with Mommy and my toys. I feel it is important that my toys get to experience the great outdoors with me. We live in the mountains, and even as summer creeps up on us, our highs are only around 75-80 degree Fahrenheit right now. I'm still a young pup at 6 1/2 years old, I am very fit (I exercise regularly), I'm at my perfect weight and I've always had boundless energy. But I've started to show an inability to take the 'heat' outside. Let me tell you what happened this weekend.

Sunday I told Mommy I wanted to take my good friend Lion L. Ritchie outside to play on the back deck. So the three of us ventured out there for a little game of throw and chase with Lion L. and a Kong Wubba. The sun was shining and it was only around 78 degrees. We were in a sunny spot on the deck and Mommy threw Lion L and the Kong Wubba for me to catch or go chase them. 
Mommy (of course) was taking photos and caught this GREAT series of photos of me running and catching Lion L. in mid air!! Don't you just love the look on his face as he's flying across the deck?! Lion L. Ritchie was even MORE surprised after I caught him. I immediately brought him back to Mommy. 
She was highly impressed with my amazing feat and she took several photos as I returned to her. Then she saw that my tongue was just about dragging the ground. I am not a 'panter' like many dogs are. In fact, I almost never do it...unless I am really hot. I mean seriously overheated. Although the photos of me with my tongue hanging out seem normal, I am in serious distress. 




I couldn't help but just stand there. Mommy called me to her right away, but I only took a couple steps. Mommy scooped me up and immediately took me inside. She tried to get me to drink, but I refused. She had to do some serious cajoling to get me to drink some cool coconut water with plain water mixed in. I only drank a little bit, but then choked on it. Finally, she made me stay still with her in the cool air conditioned living room until I felt better. 

Mommy was trying to figure out why I was getting overheated so quickly. We'd barely been out there 10 minutes. But you can see I was in distress in this photo to the left because my head is low, I have a far off look as my tongue continues to hang really far out of my mouth. NOT the typical Pixel face! This has happened a few times in the last couple of weeks and Mommy was perplexed. After some thoughtful discussion with the family, we realized that part of it has to do with the fact that I need to re-acclimate to the coming warmer temperatures, and the other part (perhaps the most significant) is due to the medications I am now on. In the last year, I've had to go on several medications to help me stay well. It makes perfect sense that medications, whether you are human or canine, can affect your ability to tolerate certain things. It can change your body chemistry and so it is something to be aware of for your beloved pets. I'm certainly no expert, but I feel it's important to talk about

Helpful Tips to Remember:
1. All types/breeds/sizes of dogs can be at risk for heat exhaustion, heat sensitivity or heat stroke.
2. It can happen quickly, so always keep constant tabs on your animal companions.
3. It does not matter whether the dog has no hair, short hair or long hair, anyone can be overcome by the heat.
4. Always keep your pet well hydrated

Here's are some warning signs:
1. Extreme panting, tongue hanging far out of the mouth.
2. Loss of interest in running, walking, playing, etc. Your pet might lay down suddenly or refuse to come when called.
3. Thick mucus, bright pink or red tongue (more than normal).
4. Nausea and vomiting (get them to the vet immediately).

What to do if your pet is overcome by the heat:
1. Move the pet into a cool environment immediately. If you can't do this...
2. Move the dog to a shaded area outside and cool the dog down with water, such as from a water hose. Getting at least the feet wet can be helpful.
3. Give your pet cool fresh drinking water. Put ice cubes in it if you have them.
4. Placing cool wet towels around your pet's neck, and around the groin area can help the cooling process. An electric fan blowing on them can help increase the cooling process.
4. Take your pet to the vet if breathing at all is affected.

I'm certainly no expert, nor am I a doctor. I'm just a little dog that has experienced heat sensitivity and the unpleasant feeling it brings. So watch your pet carefully for any signs of heat stroke or heat sensitivity. It doesn't have to be very hot outside for a dog to become overheated. Just having the sun shining on them on a temperate 75 degree day can be too much, just as it was for me on Sunday.




Remember that us pups can only release body heat through panting and through our paws...so keep us on the cool side and we'll have a great summer together!

And don't forget my new Pixel Blue Eyes Heat Safety Tip:

When in doubt, DON'T TAKE US OUT!

I'm taking part in the Monday Mischief Blog Hop hosted by my friends Alfie's Blog, Snoopy's Dog Blog and My Brown Newfies. Go sniff around some other blogs below and see what they have to share.

5 comments:

  1. Last Sunday when we went to church, there was this wet puppy being tied under the heat of the sun. We all approached it to see who owned the little guy. Later, we caught ourselves being stared at by an old woman. She was drying the dog because it just got bathed.

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  2. Pixel so glad mum kept and eye on you and saw your distress. Phew glad you are OK now. I am not allowed to run and hunt too much when it is hot and peeps frequently chucks water all over me which I hate but she does it to keep me cool. Take care and stay cool pal.
    Best wishes Molly

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  3. I always remind humans in my news column that Dogs need water more often then humans. When they are running or jogging we dogs will stay with our leader,(the human) and will drop over from heat before we stop and not keep up with them. They don't seem to understand That kind of commitment.

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  4. Hi Pixel, It's me your friend, Zoe the Therapy Dog! here in Arizona it is especially important for everyone to read your blog post. Many people run with their dogs or worse ride their bikes and their poor pups are running with their tongues almost to the street. It is so sad. Mommy doesn't sweat at all so she has no cooling device like most people so she has been in heat distress a few times. She learned for humans and for doggies, too, that cooling down through cool wet towels helps with internal temperatures. Also,, pediolite in water is also helpful. I hope you are better today, my friend.

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  5. Good tips Pixel, thanks for sharing.

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