What Are The Symptoms Of An Overheated Dog?
Overheating is a very real problem in dogs. There are many causes that can contribute to this issue, and understanding the symptoms of an overheated dog can make a big difference in your pet’s ability to survive a severe cause of this condition. Learn how to identify overheating in your dog and ensure she remains healthy and safe for a long time to come.
In this article, you’ll find out more about the symptoms of overheating as well as some of the causes and treatments you can expect when dealing with this difficult issue. Remember to always contact your vet right away if you think your dog may be overheating severely.
Causes That Lead to Symptoms of an Overheated Dog
Dogs overheat because they are unable to sweat like humans do. Generally, dogs pant to help regulate their core body temperatures when they’re hot, but in severe cases of overheating, panting doesn’t help.
In situations where your dog’s temperature rises above 103 degrees Fahrenheit and stays there for too long, she may develop signs of overheating. At 106 Fahrenheit and above, she may develop heat stroke, and this can prove fatal.
Therefore, it’s crucial to lower your dog’s body temperature as soon as you can.
Being Left in a Hot Car
Dogs become overheated for a variety of reasons. Unfortunately, the most common cause that leads to the symptoms of an overheated dog is also one of the most preventable: being left in a hot car. The inside of a car becomes dangerously hot very quickly. You may think you’re just stepping inside the store for a moment, but it only takes a few minutes on a very hot day for a dog to become dangerously overheated when left in a vehicle.
Spending Too Much Time Outside
Some dogs may become overheated from spending too much time outside on a very hot or humid day. Even just laying in the sun can be too much on days like this for certain dogs. Any dog who is very active and playful outside during hot, humid weather is more at risk for becoming overheated.
Always let your dog go inside to cool off for a while when she’s been playing outside.
Dogs with thick or very long hair are more at risk for overheating than other dogs. Additionally, dogs with short snouts or flat faces are more at risk as well, and so are dogs who become very active when let outside regardless of the temperature. Despite these risk factors, any dog can overheat.
Common Symptoms of an Overheated Dog
Learning to recognize the symptoms of an overheated dog can make it easier for you to move your dog to a cooler location as soon as she needs it.
Some common symptoms of an overheated dog to look out for include:
This is the first sign your dog is too hot. All dogs pant when they’re hot, but constantly panting without stopping is a bad sign.
If you notice your dog’s sides heaving while she breathes and pants, this is additionally a sign she needs to cool off immediately.
Drooling More Than Normal
If your dog is a heavy drooler all the time, it may be tough to notice this. But if your dog doesn’t usually drool and suddenly starts to, this is a sign she is overheating.
Glazed Eyes or Unfocused Behavior
Dogs who can’t pay attention may be suffering from overheating as well.
If a dog becomes very sick from overheating, she will vomit, often more than once. This is especially dangerous as she will quickly dehydrate even more due to the vomiting.
Dark Red Gums
Your dog’s gums may become dark red. Her tongue might also appear darker red than it should when overheating.
If your dog is severely overheated, she will not be able to stand up. She may collapse easily and may be difficult to rouse.
Dogs who are suffering from severe overheating may have seizures or convulsions as well.
How to Prevent Symptoms of an Overheated Dog from Occurring
Now that you know some of the more common symptoms to look out for in an overheated dog, it’s important to know the steps you can take in order to stop them from happening in the first place.
Never Leave Your Dog in a Hot Car
First and foremost, never leave your dog in a hot car, even with the windows down. Don’t leave her locked in a vehicle for any length of time unattended. Even if you don’t feel like it’s very hot outside, the temperature inside your vehicle will get hot quickly, and the situation can get out of control fast.
Take Your Dog Swimming for Exercise
For dogs who overheat or risk overheating when playing outside in the warm weather, try exercising your dog by allowing her to swim instead of running and jumping.
If you have a full-size swimming pool, lake, or pond available, this is ideal. If not, a kiddie pool provides plenty of room for a dog to splash and play. If all else fails, the garden hose or sprinkler can be fun additions to a dog’s summertime backyard play.
Keep Your Dog’s Fur Trimmed
Dogs with long or thick fur should have a summertime trim to help keep them cool. This should be done by a groomer unless you have prior experience cutting your dog’s hair short. A professional will know how much hair to leave to protect her skin from sunburn while still allowing her to cool off.
Give Your Dog Plenty of Water
Always give your dog plenty of water when she’s outside. If you’re going on a hike or walk together, bring along lots of water (for both of you!) and take plenty of breaks.
Try to walk in the morning or evening when it’s cooler outside. And if you’re letting your dog have backyard time on a hot or humid day, provide multiple bowls of water in shady spots so she always has a place to go cool off.
Call a Vet if Your Dog Shows Symptoms of Overheating
Now that you’ve learned a little bit more about the symptoms, causes, and treatments related to overheating in dogs, you should be better prepared to deal with this issue if it ever arises. You should also be able to recognize symptoms of overheated dog before it gets out of hand, and you should know which situations to avoid in order to prevent this from happening to your furry friend.
Overheating can be fatal, but with the right information it doesn’t have to be. Always call your veterinarian or an after-hours emergency vet if you think your dog may be overheating.
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Located in Cooper City, FL, we strive to do more than simply be a full-service veterinarian for your pet. Our decades of experience has served generations of families and their beloved pets and we look forward to serving you as well!