I recently found some notes I’d taken earlier this year, about how hot Guinness became when I was running with him. How did you measure that, I hear you ask. Well, the only way to accurately take a dog’s temperature is rectally.
While we were running I stopped and took his rectal temperature every 5 minutes. He was less than impressed. I was a bit worried about people thinking I was weird, so I tried to do it behind a bush. I’m not sure this helped. What would you think if you saw someone behind a bush, having a close look at their dog’s bottom?
Anyway, it was a summer day, clear blue skies, no breeze and about 5pm in the afternoon. The scary thing was that within 15 minutes, Guinness’s body temperature was over 40 degrees C. For our American readers, that’s 104 degrees F. Definitely getting into the danger zone.
Admittedly, Guinness is black and soaks up solar radiation very easily. However, it’s worth noting how quickly his temperature began to rise. He was panting but would have cheerfully kept running with me. I stopped the run and let him have a paddle in the lake, and sat for a while in the shade of a tree. He was fine.
This needs to act as a reminder to us as we approach the Aussie summer. We are ultimately responsible for our dog’s health while we are running. They can’t sweat to cool down, and heat stroke is a very real possibility. I have personally known a dog to die of heat stroke after a run with her owner.
If you’re in doubt, err on the side of caution and leave your dog at home.