Our dog Seamus has always been super healthy and hardly high maintenance. He moved in when he was only a few months old puppy, full of wee and vinegar. It was not a surprise to anyone that he soon became the focus of our family, the ray of sunshine in each of our days together.
One of many things that made Seamus such a special puppy was that he was already potty-trained by his mother before he left the farm where he was born and moved in with our little family. Zero accidents was more than we would ask from him, but since the day one, he consistently stood by the back door of our tiny house, whining to go outside for poopies.
As Seamus grew older, we remained mesmerized by how easy life with this young dog was. No destroyed couches, no chewed table legs, no accidents in the house, and no health issues to be concerned about. The only challenge he brought to the table was him being very energetic, constantly asking for walkies, play-time, fetch… any kind of activity would do. Because of this high energy, long walks in the woods was part of our daily routine. On weekends the walks turned into half-day hiking adventures. He loved our family walks and the exercise more than anything else.
One Saturday, in the middle of our three hour walk, Seamus started to pant excessively and wouldn’t move forward on the hiking trail. He looked for shade, a cool place to lay and rest. Because of the hot summer day, we had started the hike very early in the morning, so we would be back home before the hottest time of the day. Although we were prepared for the hotter weather, it wasn’t enough to prevent Seamus suffering heat exhaustion.
The recovery was quick and Seamus was back on track quickly. However, year after year, he seemed to be more and more sensitive to higher temps and sunshine. Even on cloudy days, we had to keep his walks short and provide him with plenty of water and electrolytes. The heat exhaustion he suffered through left him prone to repeats that bug him even on seemingly cooler summer days.
Now, five years later, Seamus is able to enjoy warm weather walks and we are well aware of his limitations. We tell the story of his heat exhaustion to as many dog owners as possible, so others wouldn’t have to live with the limitations Seamus does. Common sense will take you far, but being aware of the danger of heat injury and the possibility your dog may be prone to heat exhaustion doesn’t hurt either.
Safe walkies and have a wonderful summer!
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