Our pets' health and well-being are among our top priorities as dog owners. With warmer weather around the corner, it's crucial to comprehend the signs of overheating in dogs, a common but potentially severe issue. Overheating in dogs can lead to heatstroke, which can be life-threatening if not treated promptly.
Unlike humans, dogs are more prone to overheating. They only sweat through their paw pads and primarily rely on panting to cool down. But these natural cooling mechanisms may not be enough during hot weather, intense exercise, or if your dog is left in an enclosed space like a car.
So how do you know if your dog is overheating? Below, we delve into some signs that your furry friend may suffer from heat-related illnesses and what you can do to prevent them.
#1 Excessive Panting
While panting is normal for dogs, especially after exercise or excitement, excessive and heavy panting can indicate that your dog is overheating. If your dog's panting doesn't lessen or stop after they've had a chance to rest and cool down, it's time to take things seriously.
#2 Elevated Body Temperature
A normal body temperature for dogs lies between 101 to 102.5 degrees Fahrenheit. When the body temperature rises above 103 degrees, it's considered abnormal or elevated. Above 106 degrees is often associated with heatstroke, which requires immediate veterinary intervention.
Also Read: How fast can heatstroke kill a dog?
#3 Rapid Heart Rate
A faster-than-normal heartbeat can be another indicator that your dog is overheating. It's best to familiarize yourself with your dog's average resting heart rate to know when it's unusually high.
#4 Excessive Drooling or Thick, Sticky Saliva
If your dog is overheating, you might notice excessive drooling or their saliva might become thicker and stickier than usual. This is a result of dehydration, which often accompanies overheating.
#5 Lethargy or Weakness
Unusual lethargy or weakness can also be a sign of overheating. If your dog struggles to stand, seems uncoordinated, or collapses, it could be due to heatstroke.
#6 Vomiting or Diarrhea
Both vomiting and diarrhea can be symptoms of heatstroke in dogs. Sometimes, the vomit or feces might contain blood, which is a sign of a severe heat-related illness.
In extreme cases, overheating can lead to seizures in dogs. This is a clear indication that the dog needs immediate veterinary attention.
Recognizing these signs is the first step, but prevention is always the best approach. Here are some tips to keep your dog safe in the heat:
- Stay Hydrated: Always ensure your dog has access to fresh water.
- Avoid Hot Times of Day: Try to walk your dog in the early morning or late evening when temperatures are lower.
- Never Leave Your Dog in a Parked Car: The temperature inside a car can rapidly reach dangerous levels, even on a moderately warm day.
- Provide Shade: If your dog is outside, make sure they have a shady place to rest.
- Watch the Humidity: High humidity can prevent your dog from effectively cooling themselves through panting.
- Use a Cooling Mat: These mats can provide relief from the heat, especially for brachycephalic breeds that overheat more quickly.
Also Read: Heatstroke in dogs treatment at home
If you notice signs of overheating in your dog, it's important to respond immediately. Try to cool them down gradually by moving them to a cool place, providing water to drink, and wetting their body with cool (not cold) water. Contact a vet as soon as possible. In many cases, prompt intervention can save a dog's life.
Remember, each dog is different. If you're unsure whether your dog is overheating, err on the side of caution and consult a professional. Keep an eagle eye on their ambient temperature changes using Waggle Pet Monitor. It sends instant alerts via Text or Email if the level goes unsafe for your pets.
We can ensure our furry friends stay safe and relaxed all summer with careful monitoring and proactive steps.