What To Do If Your Dog Overheats

It’s officially the dog days of summer, and it’s crazy hot out there! It’s easy for your pet to overheat in these blistering temperatures. Because overheating can be life-threatening if not treated immediately, noticing the early signs of heat exhaustion will reduce the chances of canine heatstroke and death. Here’s what to do if your pet does overheat:

  • Watch your pooch for signs of overheating during the hot weather – Dogs having difficulty with hot temperatures exhibit a combination of symptoms such as hyperventilation, excessive panting, dry gums that become pale, increased salivation, erratic or rapid pulse, confusion, weakness, diarrhea, vomiting, and possibly rectal bleeding. Once you notice these signs, move your pet to a cooler area immediately, preferably with a fan. Dogs with heavy fur coats and short muzzles tend to manifest signs sooner than other breeds.
  • Take your pet’s temperature – A dog’s normal body temperature is 101.5 degrees Fahrenheit. Moderate heating usually happens at around 103 to 106 degrees, while severe heating typically occurs beyond 106 degrees. Contact your vet or the nearest emergency center and then report your dog’s temperature along with the symptoms he is exhibiting.
  • Reduce your pooch’s temperature – Put cool wet towels over the neck, under the armpits, and between the hind legs. Wetting the ear flaps and paw pads using cool water is also advisable. If you are outdoors, a stream or pond can be used to help cool down.
  • Give your dog fresh cool drinking water – Never force water into the mouth as he may likely suck it out into his lungs. If your pooch refuses to drink, try wetting the tongue with the water instead. Do not offer ice to a dog experiencing heatstroke. If eaten, ice can cool the core body temperature too quickly, shocking the system.
  • Finally, transport your overheated pooch to your vet – Call ahead so they can be alerted to prepare for your dog’s treatment. Your pet may have to receive oxygen, some fluids, and other treatments. With severe overheating, seizure and or cardiac arrest may occur.