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Signs Your Dog is Overheating: What to do

ElleVet Happy Dog

Everyone loves summertime, including pets! Especially for those who endure harsh winters, summer is a turning point that can lift the whole family’s mood. But summer fun can come to a quick halt when a family member is sick. Making sure that your dog beats the heat is just as important as is it for the rest of the family. Overheating is a serious problem that can be prevented and treated as necessary. The saying dog days of summer did not appear for no reason. 

Signs of Overheating:

  • Excessive panting or drooling
  • Elevated pulse
  • Disorientation 
  • Vomiting
  • Weakness 
  • Diarrhea
  • Change in the color of their gums and/or tongue (bright red or blue)

What to do if your Dog is Overheating:

  • Immediate action is best–call your vet!
  • Take your dog to a cool environment, either in doors with fans/AC or the closest cool body of water (pool, lake, ocean)
  • Cold, wet washcloths can be placed on the neck, armpits, or the back of legs
  • Give your dog small amounts of cool (not cold) water, but do not force them to drink it. Do NOT feed them ice
  • Take unconscious dogs to the vet or ER immediately 
  • Check their temperature, above 103 degrees Fahrenheit is of concern
ElleVet two dogs

Tips for Prevention:

  • Only go outside when necessary on extremely hot days
  • Always bring water with you when bringing your dog on outdoor adventures
  • Never leave your dog alone in a car
  • Be mindful of changes in your dog’s behavior on hot days
  • Don’t push your dog too hard to exercise on extremely hot days
  • Consider different types of exercise on hotter days (e.g., swimming), or walking during cooler hours
  • If you are the parent of a working dog, make sure you give them lots of breaks
  • Get your dog a summer trim
  • Know your dog’s medical history for anything that might put them at more risk of overheating

Other Things to Consider:

  • Dogs with shorter snouts tend to overheat more quickly (e.g., pugs)
  • Dogs do not sweat all over the bodies as humans do, so they can overheat more rapidly even when exposed to the same climate as their parents 
  • This is a medical instance in which it can be helpful to call the vet ahead of time to make them aware of your dog’s state
  • As a pet parent, you know your dog best! Trust your gut if your dog’s behavior seems out of the ordinary and get them out of the heat

The ElleVet Team
[email protected]