Are you here because you have an old dog? Perhaps they are excessively panting right now? and you’re wondering how you can help them cool down.
Keep them comfortable by providing a shady spot with close access to fresh water and a fan. You can also use cooling mats or a wet towel that help keep their body temperature down while they sleep or rest indoors. When the weather is at the coolest part of the day, only then should you walk your senior dog.
I have broken it down into two sections; Daytime and Nighttime cooling down help, as you will do different things during the day than at night.
I know how difficult it is to see your old dog panting. Older dogs struggle with regulating their body temperature compared to younger dogs. So, I will get straight to the point.
- Keep the dog bed out of the sun, find shade in the house, and settle them there.
- Remove all blankets from the dog bed unless it’s a hard bed; leave one blanket.
- Freshwater is beside their bedside, so they dont have to walk far. Preferably from the fridge, so it’s nice and cool.
- Get a fan! The standing fans are better to have if your dog knocks it over.
- Lay a cold towel over your dog. Rinse a towel under the cold tap, squeeze it, so it’s not dripping with water, and lay it over your dog’s shoulders.
- Don’t take them for a walk in the heat, especially since they are old. It would be best if you waited to walk your dog until it cools down in a few days. Take them when the sun is in and the day is at its coldest. Check the weather apps for the temperature.
- Get a cooling mat! These mats work very well at cooling dogs down.
- Dog ice lollies. You can buy ice lollies from a pet shop or make your own. Never give dogs human ice lollies, as these will cause more harm to your old dog.
- If you have younger children, gently let them know that your family dog needs some space to try to relax and cool down.
- Cover windows with tin foil; this keeps the sunlight out and the heat generated by the sun.
- Get a cooling mat! These mats work very well at cooling dogs down. They are usually sold out when it’s been a few hot days, so if they are available tonight, get one! You can either lay it on the floor or in their dog bed.
- Remove the blankets from your dog’s bed. Unless it’s a hard bed, you must keep one blanket in.
- Wet a towel before you go to bed and lay it on your dog, they will soon move if they aren’t happy with it, but this will undoubtedly cool them down a little. Depending on the size of your dog, you may want to use a hand towel or a bath towel.
- Make sure your dog’s water bowl is fully topped up. Put the bowl next to their bed so it’s easily assessable. I suggest storing it in the fridge, ensuring it’s lovely and cold for them.
- If you wake up during the night, re-wet the towel and gently lay it on them again.
- Get a fan! The standing fans are better to have in case your dog knocks it over—however, not all dogs like the fan.
- Don’t have your dog in the bed with you or under the duvet. Your dog is too hot already, and this will make it worse.
Excessive Panting (Old Dog)
Don’t panic. Panting is normal for dogs, especially excessively when hot; it’s their way of cooling themselves down. However, the older a dog gets, the more the heat affects them and the harder it is for them to cool down on their own. With the help of the tips above, you can assist your senior dog and make them less uncomfortable when hot.
Please note: if the above doesn’t work and you feel the panting is getting more excessive and heavy, you will need to contact your vet as soon as possible.
Heatstroke in dogs is a highly severe condition that can be fatal if not treated quickly. Heatstroke occurs when the body cannot cool itself, and the body temperature rises to dangerous levels. This can happen to any dog, but some breeds are more at risk than others and more in older dogs.
Never dunk a hot dog in cold water; this will cause the body to go into fatal shock.
Dogs Most at Risk of Heatstroke
- Pugs or bulldogs, dogs with short noses have difficulty panting and cooling themselves because of their anatomy.
- Dogs with thick fur coats may also struggle to regulate their body temperature in hot weather conditions.
- Older dogs are also at higher risk of heat exhaustion because they don’t sweat as much as younger animals.
Suppose you notice signs of overheating such as excessive heavy panting, lethargy or vomiting. In that case, you must take your pet inside immediately so they can cool off on a tile floor or outside in the shade until they recover from the episode without further complications! You will also need to contact a veterinarian. Heatstroke is very dangerous; prevent it with the above tips! The best way to prevent your dog from getting heat stroke is by taking precautions during hot weather conditions, such as avoiding strenuous exercise and keeping them out of direct sunlight for extended periods (especially between 10 am-4 pm).
Encourage your old dog to drink water
- Try adding some peas to the water bowl
- Adding some small raw pieces of bell peppers to the water bowl
- Capful of milk, providing they are not lactose intolerant
- Pretend yourself to drink the water, then place the bowl down
The above all depends on your dog, whether or not they mind a cold towel on them or the fan. However, try it. Even if one of the above works, you can make them more comfortable in the long run.
If you dont have a cooling mat right now, dont panic, double the towels; have one to lay on and a towel over them.
I hope the below works for your dog and some good ideas for you to try. The older dogs indeed suffer more than the younger dogs trying to keep themselves cool.
My dog started to have this problem at age fifteen, and his panting was pretty extreme, especially at night. I used to dred the heatwaves that we occasionally have.