Many Beagles love the summer months. They can be found curled up in patches of sunlight, soaking in the rays. But the last few years have seen some more extreme heat and humidity conditions even in areas that are not normally prone to this type of weather. Beagles are hardy dogs and many will soldier on without complaint but older dogs, puppies, and dogs that are compromised by illness may have more difficulties coping with extreme heat.
Beagles are active dogs and exercise is important to mental and physical health. Although you might normally prefer afternoons for activities like hikes and runs, instead confine activity to cooler parts of the day such as early in the morning or evenings. Keep a close eye on your Beagle while out exercising. Heavy panting, drooling, or an overall slowing down should be signs that it is time to cool off and head indoors. If you’re out in the field, your Beagle may be tempted to keep hunting but you need to prevent him from pushing himself too hard. Although Beagles are not at as high a risk of heat stroke as breeds with short muzzles and black dogs, it can still happen and it can be deadly.
Make sure that you are keeping your Beagle on grass and other substrates that don’t absorb the heat as much as asphalt or concrete. Pads can sustain damage from the heat and it is painful. If you are uncomfortable walking on the pavement in your barefeet then it is likely too hot to be walking your Beagle on it either. If it is unavoidable, aim for cooler parts of the day and consider protective footwear if the area is likely to be too hot for comfort.
Although Beagles make fine traveling companions, in hot weather it is best to leave them at home. Cars heat up very quickly, even with the window cracked open and they can easily reach deadly temperatures. You may not plan on being in the store for long but sometimes things happen and you get delayed. Instead, leave your Beagle home with the air conditioning.
If travel is unavoidable, make sure that you have the air conditioning on and keep the car cool. Consider attaching a crate fan to your dog’s kennel to keep him cool if you have to stop the vehicle for any length of time and provide lots of cool, fresh water for him to drink. Freeze a half full bucket of water the night before you travel. Just before you go, take it out of the freezer and top it up with cold water from your tap. As you travel, the ice will melt and provide an ongoing source of cold water for your Beagle.
If You Suspect Heat Stroke
Common signs of heat stroke include heavy panting and drooling, bright red gums and tongue, and vomiting. Any dog can develop heat stroke. Dogs only sweat through their pads which is a very small surface area to excrete heat through. If you suspect your dog has heat stroke it is a serious emergency. Get him to a veterinarian immediately. Dogs with heat stroke can go into shock, suffer seizures, lapse into a coma, and die if not cared for in time.
Move him into an air conditioned environment. Use lukewarm water to cool your pet down. Although your immediate reaction might be to use ice cold water, that can bring on shock. Lukewarm water will cool him off but provide less of a shock to his system. Use can apply cool, wet cloths or ice packs to the groin and sponge his head off with cool water. Encourage him to drink water that is lukewarm to cool but not really cold. You need to take his temperature regularly at ten minute intervals. Anything over 104 F is dangerous. Keep using cooling methods until his temperature drops below 104 F. Remember, you want to cool him down but doing it too quickly will do as much damage as not cooling him off. Once he is stabilized he still needs to be seen by a vet as complications can follow heat stroke.
The best route to avoid heat stroke is prevention. Use common sense and don’t leave your Beagle out in the heat of the day. Make sure he is cool and comfortable at all times and avoid situations like car travel that can put him in a hot vehicle with few options.