(by a non-veterinarian Boxer lover who does dog sports in hot weather)

First of all, you might ask your vet in your area if they have any specific
recommendations to help prevent your Boxer from the effects of heat stress.

Here in Southern CA, we have almost no indoor dog facilities, so those of us
who are active in dog sports end up taking our Boxers out in the hot weather
for dog shows, training, and just for fun. While there are some dangers in
doing this, we have learned, over the years, how to diminish the risks to our

For those of you in cooler states, you need to remember that your Boxer, who
is used to cooler weather overall, can overheat faster when your weather
warms up because they are not used to it. So, in summertime or unseasonably
warm weather everywhere, it is a good idea to be prepared.

First, what happens to dogs in hot weather?

As we know, people 'sweat' as their form of respiration (cooling off), and
may breathe more heavily.

Dogs do not have the same kind of sweat glands. They PANT, and they have
some sweat glands on the bottoms of their paws, but that's it.
Bracecyphalic dogs, like Boxers, have a shorter nose, and often, additional
flesh inside their mouth and throat which makes their respiration less
efficient. In other words, Boxers overheat more quickly than many other
breeds of dogs, and this is very important to bear in mind. Weather that
might not be too hot for another dog, MIGHT be too hot for your Boxer. High
humidity may make it harder for your Boxer to cool off, too.

So, how can you get your Boxer safely through hot and humid weather?

1.) Lots and lots of cool, fresh drinking water, available at all times for
the dog, in the house or in the yard. If the weather is hot, and your Boxer
is digging, it might be due to heat stress. This is an important time to
help your Boxer cool off NOW! A child's wading pool filled with water is a
great idea for many Boxers.
2.) A place to cool off. A dark, quiet place with a fan, drinking water, a
cool mat to lie on, or again, the child's wading pool in the yard. You can
buy a 'cool mat' from most pet supply places or you can make one from wet
3.) A 'wet coat.' Again, you can buy these at dog shows or from pet supply
catalogs, but you can make one from a wet terrycloth towel or a chamois.
Place the wet, wrung out 'wet coat' over the dog.
4.) NEVER leave your Boxer unattended in a car, truck or backyard.
Especially without water and/or shade. Even on cloudy days, the temperature
can rise quickly in a closed car. And even on cloudy days, the humidity can
be too much for your Boxer.

Fine tuning...more prevention:

Again because we have to learn to deal with heat as a constant in Southern
CA, we have learned a few tips over the years to help our Boxers deal with
the heat.

Nupro Custom Electrolyte Formula for Dogs: This is like Gatorade for humans.
It replaces the electrolytes that your Boxer loses in panting when
overheated. You can get this at your pet food store or some pet supply
places (like JB Wholesale, who always carries it). Some people use infants'
and children's Pedialyte, which could work in an emergency. However, do NOT
give your Boxer Gatorade, as it tends to make the dog's stomach crampy and
that's the last thing you need if your dog is feeling heat stress. You can
give the Nupro electrolytes in food daily and in water. It really helps my
Boxers tolerate the heat better.

Vitamin B Complex: My wonderful Southern CA vet recommends up to 100 mg for
an adult Boxer per day in hot, humid weather. This helps your Boxer deal
with stress (and heat stress is a form of 'stress') better. I simply crush
it into my Boxers' food.

Honey: Honey has a lot of vitamins and minerals, so it helps to restore
lost electrolytes like Nupro or Pedialyte. However, it isn't as powerful,
but it can help prevent heat stress. Add it to food, or take a squeeze
bottle with you that is just for your Boxer if you need to be out in the
heat and humidity.

Doggy Air Conditioner's: You make these yourself by freezing water in the 1
or 2 litre Coke bottles or other large soda or water bottles. Put in a
crate or small room with your Boxers, these provide cool air as they
evaporate, and cool drinking water. Several will keep your Boxer nicely
cool for several hours.

Splash water on the bottom of their paws, ears, private parts, and tummies.
This helps to cool them down.

How to tell if you're Boxer is overheating?

Rapid panting, with tongue hanging out, and a tight look around the eyes.
The Boxer's sides are heaving.

A Boxer who does not ordinarily dig, who is digging, and who is very dirty.
This Boxer is trying to get to cool ground to cool it's body off.

A Boxer who when drinking water, shoves its head up to the eyeballs and
tosses water over it's back.

Your Boxer's ears and gums and pink or white parts get very RED.

Your Boxer is becoming uncoordinated (loss of electrolytes).

Okay, so you've provided water, a cool place, shade, and fortified your
dog's diet against heat stress, exhaustion or heat stroke, and still your
Boxer is in distress. What to do?

First, call your vet and tell them what has happened. Follow whatever
directions they give you. If you cannot reach a vet, do everything you can
to get your Boxer's temperature down. If you can, put your Boxer in a
bathtub of cool water. In the meantime, splash water on the bottoms of
their paws, tummies, private parts, and ears. IF your Boxer is conscious or
still responding, give them water to drink. If they are panting too hard to
drink the water, trickle just a little in their mouths. Not a lot or they
might choke. You might place ice packs on their chests and underbody areas.
Keep trying to contact your vet in the meantime. Depending upon how severe
the heat stress/exhaustion is, your Boxer may be shocky and may well need
medical attention.

Summer is our fun time, and should be...With our wonderful Boxers, it can be
a lot of fun, if you just take a few precautions.



Copyright 2005, Boxer Rescue L.A. All Rights Reserved.
Email: info@boxer-rescue-la.com