On a hot summer day, it can feel really good to stand in front of a fan for a bit of a breeze. While fans are a great way for humans to cool down, do dogs benefit from fans in the same way? Also, do dogs even feel the air that comes off of fans?
While it is sometimes obvious that dogs can feel air blowing around them based on the way they squint their eyes, flick their ears, and stand on a windy day, it is not so clear if fans can help cool your dog off when it is hot outdoors.
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Signs Your Dog Can Feel a Fan and Why it is Helpful
Dogs aren’t immune from feeling a blast of air on a windy day. You have probably seen the wind blow your dog’s fur in a humorous way, and your dog can definitely feel that air blowing around them. This probably feels a lot like it does when your hair blows in the wind or the wind hits your skin. Dogs experience feeling things pretty similarly to humans.
But, since dogs don’t sweat, do fans cool them off the same way fans make us cool after a hot day in the sun? Not exactly, but if your dog happens to get too hot, you can replicate the feeling that we get when we are sweaty and stand in front of a fan.
Getting your dog wet with cool water and putting them in front of a fan can help cool their body, much like sweating helps humans cool off.
If you notice the signs of heat stroke, which include lethargy, weakness, panting, disorientation, dehydration, increased body temperature, and more, you need to work on cooling your dog off to a safe level before heading to a vet. A vet can ensure that your pet doesn’t have any persistent issues or damage after a heat stroke event.
- Sweaty paws
- Increased body temperature
History of Heat Stroke in Dogs
Dogs have been suffering from heat stroke since the beginning of time. It can be difficult to recognize the symptoms of heat stroke, and in the past, not much could be done to help dogs who had suffered from heat stroke. Now, doctors can quickly recognize and treat dogs that are brought in with heat stroke.
Dog owners have also learned how to spot heat stroke and help their dogs as much as they possibly can. If you believe that your dog has heat stroke, you should take their temperature to double check. Dogs need to have their temperature taken rectally, and you need to use an approved thermometer. If your dog’s temperature is 106 degrees F or higher, use water and a fan to cool your dog down to at least 103 degrees before attempting to go to the vet.
To cool your dog off, you can dip their feet in cool water, wrap them in a wet towel, or spray them with or submerge them in cool water. To help speed up the process, you can put a fan on them. The fan will help the water evaporate and cool them off. This is a similar process to how humans cool themselves with sweat.
Science Behind a Fan Cooling a Dog Off
When we sweat, our bodies are trying to find a way to release heat from within. When cool air hits our sweat, we may feel chilly. For dogs, the cool air that a fan provides doesn’t work in the same way, because they don’t sweat on most of their bodies. Dogs can sweat through their paws, so wet paws in front of a fan might feel a lot like what we experience.
Just because dogs don’t sweat doesn’t mean that a fan can’t help in cooling them off. If your dog is wet, a fan will help lower their body temperature to a more comfortable level.
Dealing with Heat Stroke in Pets
When it comes to fans, they become the most helpful for your dog when they are overheating. If you think that your dog is dealing with heat stroke, a fan along with cool water can help lower their body temperature to a safer level.
Dogs are naturally warmer than humans, but much like people, increases from that natural body temperature can be extremely dangerous. Hyperthermia occurs when your dog’s body reaches a temperature of more than 106 degrees F. Heat stroke can cause multiple organ failures, which can cause your dog’s body to shut down. At this point, your dog will probably fall into a coma, and they could even experience brain damage.
To help drop your dog’s body temperature to a safe level, a fan can come in very handy. While a fan alone may not help much in these cases, you can spray your dog with cool—not cold—water. If spraying doesn’t seem to help, you can also immerse your dog’s body in water. You could even wrap your dog in a wet towel.
Another way to use a fan to help with heat stroke is to use isopropyl alcohol on your dog’s feet, groin, and under the forelegs. A fan will help the alcohol evaporate, which cools your dog down. Be sure to stop cooling measures when your dog reaches a temperature of 103 degrees.
Never use cold or ice water, as it can cause the blood vessels near the surface of the body to constrict and prevent heat loss. No matter what, you should always bring your dog in to see a veterinarian if you believe they have had heat stroke. If your regular vet is closed, seek emergency care.
Safety Tips for Dogs Around Fans:
Make sure your dog can't get near the blades of the fan.
Keep all electrical cords away from your dog.
Use fans with cool water when your dog is overheating.