In some parts of this hemisphere, the hot weather has arrived. This is a reminder to check your dog if your canine pal is accompanying you outside in the warm weather. As a dog ages, it may not be able to tolerate the heat as well. This may be noticeable, even from summer to summer.

Whenever possible, offer the dog some water on a regular basis. Take care to note the dog’s behaviour and appearance. Dehydration calls for your immediate response to prevent circulation problems and organ damage. At some point in the dehydration process, the dog may not want water (or is not able to intake the water). Veterinary assistance is required immediately.

There is a quick method to check on the dog. Here is an example that starts with a self example. With two fingers, pinch the skin on the back of your other hand. Pinch the skin so that it forms a peak and then release it. You will see that the skin quickly returns to place. That is because dehydration is not a problem for you and your skin has its normal elasticity. Your dog, depending in small part on the breed, has the same sort of elasticity. Try it with your dog and see. Note that this is under normal conditions and the dog does not have a fluid problem. For your dog, this is how the skin should respond.

When there is a problem, the elasticity of the dog’s skin changes. The small peak of skin that you pinched does not return to its natural place quickly. It may return slowly. This tells you that a problem is well in progress. The dog should be offered water and have veterinary assistance. It may need intravenous fluids.

The precaution also extends to experienced dog owners. As mentioned previously, dogs age quickly and are not as tolerate of heat changes. There may be underlying medical problems that have not yet to be identified and begin to show themselves during hot weather changes. It is just prudent to know what is normal for your dog and note any changes when you and your dog are out in the summer weather.

Catherine Forsythe