Heat stroke and exhaustion: How to safely cool a greyhound in summer heat

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Chief Editor

Picture of Sky


Chief Editor

Venturing outdoors with your greyhound is especially fun in warm weather. Learn how to safely cool a greyhound and read signs of heat stroke.

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Heat exhaustion is a real threat to your greyhound. It’s important you learn how to safely cool a greyhound, so you can offer first-aid in the case of heat stroke. When you head out with your hound, go in the early morning or in the evening when the sun isn’t too strong. It’s also a good idea to head to the water during these times, too. There are a couple of things, though, that you want to look out for while you enjoy splashin’ around with your hound.

On the Shore With A Greyhound

Of course, only head to safe and calm bodies of water with your greyhound. Wild streams and high waves are not suitable for your fast friend. As greyhounds aren’t born master swimmers, it is important you take precautions before heading to your watering hole of choice.

While at the water, introduce your greyhound to the idea of swimming gradually. Make sure you enter the cool tides slowly so your hound’s body has time to get used to the change in temperature. While some greyhounds might take to swimming immediately, others may need more time to get used to the idea. But with a little steady encouragement and positive reinforcement, most will quickly catch on that a swim in fresh water is a wonderful way to cool off on a hot day. If you’d like some tips and tricks on how we got Sky to become a water lover, check out our ‘Building A Swimmer’-Blog Post!

How To Recognize Heat Exhaustion And Heat Stroke In A Greyhound

While spending time at the shore, keep an eye on how your greyhound feels about the heat. While humans have the ability to sweat all over their bodies in order to cool down, dogs heavily rely on panting to regulate their body temperature. They simply can’t sweat all over like we do. But when does panting become concerning?

Heat Exhaustion can include panting, salivating, an increased heart rate, listlessness, and vocalisation/whining (source).

Heavy panting, heaving sides, red flushed ears and nose, vomiting and instability can be signs of heat stroke (source). Heat stroke can be very dangerous, even lethal, so don’t hesitate to call your vet immediately. In severe cases, your vet can administer IV fluids to flush the kidneys and to combat dehydration.

Meanwhile, stop all activity, offer your hound fresh water in a cool and shaded place, and cool its paws and work your way up to its belly with a cold (but not ice cold) towel that you refresh often. In less severe cases of heat exhaustion, and if your hound feels comfortable in the water, you can find a shady spot and stand or wade in knee-deep water for ease.

Heat stroke is more serious as there can be delayed complications due to organ damage. The priority is to lower the body temperature quickly, but care has to be taken not to cause hypothermia (too cold) in the process. Any dog with a rectal temperature over 41.6 degrees is considered dangerously hot.These dogs need to be taken to the vet immediately, where cold intravenous fluids and cool water enemas can be done. The vet can also monitor for complications and give medications to aid in preventing some of the consequences of a body temperature that’s too high – such as brain swelling and shock.


Signs Of Heat Stroke

How To Treat Heat Exhaustion & Heat Stroke

How To Safely Cool A Greyhound In Summer Heat

If you see any signs of heat stress in your greyhound, it is vital you safely cool it immediately:

Our friends over at ‘About Greyhounds’ released a great podcast episode talking about Summer Safety and keeping your greyhound cool. Make sure you give this a listen before venturing out during summer months.

With barely any fat and no under coat, the dangers of summer time heat and humidity are amplified for greyhounds. In this episode, you’ll discover actions you can take to help keep your greyhound safe during the sweltering summer months (and the sweltering months of Spring and Fall, depending where you live, too).

Now you know what to look out for when enjoying summer time with your greyhound. Enjoy the warm months together with your fast friend while staying safe and cool!

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Who Dis?

I'm Sky, the host and Chief Editor of HoundToday! I want to let the people know that us ex racing greyhounds make fabulous pets! Many of us are looking for the perfect forever-home to transition to after our time on the racetrack is over. My hoomans are helping me spread the message by providing information about diet, training, health, and the adoption process.

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