Hot summer days are at full speed, and we all want to enjoy them with our pups! But it's important to know what to do if your dog overheats, as this can be a serious problem. Keeping your dog out of extreme heat is very important to your pup's health. This article will equip you with everything you need to know to prevent overheating and heat exhaustion in dogs, and give you a course of action if overheating has already occurred. Let's learn how to keep your pup cool and enjoy the summer safely!
What Are The Key Signs That Your Dog Is Overheating?
There are a few signs of overheating in dogs:
- Heavy panting: Dogs cool themselves by panting, so if your dog is panting more heavily than normal, this could be a sign that they're overheating.
- Rapid breathing: Along with heavy panting, you might notice your dog's breathing is rapid and shallow.
- Glazed eyes: Another sign to look for is if your pup's eyes appear glazed over or bloodshot.
- Thick saliva: You might also see your dog drooling more than usual, and the saliva might be thick and sticky.
- Vomiting/diarrhea: In more severe cases, dogs might vomit or have diarrhea.
- Wobbly legs: If your dog's legs seem wobbly or they're having trouble walking, this is a sign of heatstroke, which is a medical emergency.
- Lethargy and disorientation: A dog who is overheating will also likely seem tired, lethargic, and disoriented.
- Collapse: In the most severe cases, dogs might collapse from overheating.
It is extremely important to monitor your dog on a hot day and catch signs quickly and know what to do if your dog is overheated. If your dog displays any of these symptoms, call your veterinarian immediately.
How to Treat And What to Do With an Overheated Dog
If you think your dog is overheating, you might need to contact your vet. Here's your course of action:
- The first thing to do is move the dog to a cool area and offer them water.
- You can also wet their coat with cool water and fan them with a piece of cardboard or a magazine.
- Closely monitor dog's behavior - a healthy dog will stop panting and showing any signs of overheating after some time and hydration.
- If you still have concerns, measure the dog's body temperature.
- If your dog's temperature is above 104 degrees Fahrenheit, or your dog is lethargic, weak, or vomiting, call your vet immediately or drive to an emergency hospital.
Preventing Heat Exhaustion in Dogs
The best way to prevent heat exhaustion in dogs is to be proactive and take steps to keep them cool.
- On hot days, avoid taking your dog for long walks or runs during the hottest hours of the day. Stick to cooler morning or evening hours instead.
- If you're going to be outside with your dog, make sure to bring water and a bowl so he can stay hydrated.
- Never leave a dog in the car. According to the American Veterinary Medical Association, hundreds of dogs die in hot cars every year. In just one hour, the temperature in your car will be almost 40F higher than outside.
- Dogs with broad, short skulls (also known as flat-faced dogs or brachycephalic breeds such as pugs, bulldogs, and boxers), are more likely to overheat. Because of their small noses and tighter air passages, they are unable to properly cool or release heat when temperatures rise so be extra cautious.
- Factors like dark or/and long coats will also contribute to overheating. Have your dog's coat shaved shorter in summer if possible, it will help them stay cooler.
- According to The Zebra, the risk group also includes dogs with heart conditions, overweight and underweight dogs. They are more likely to suffer from heatstroke.
Tips For Keeping Dogs Cool in Hot Weather
Here are a few easy tips for dogs in hot weather:
- Bring water to drink for your dog - Bring a travel bowl and bottle of water everywhere you go, and let your dog drink a lot on hot days.
- Let your dog swim or be in a doggy pool - If you have a pool or live near a beach, letting your dog swim is a great way to help you cool your dog in hot weather. If you don't have access to a body of water, you can fill up a kiddie pool or make a DIY doggy pool for your pup to enjoy.
- Stick to the shade and don't walk in peak heat hours - When you are outdoors with your dog, stick to the shade as much as possible. If there is no natural shade, bring along an umbrella or portable pop-up shade for cooling down dogs in hot weather. Avoid walking during the hottest hours of the day, and try to find routes with more tree cover or less asphalt.
- Freeze toys and treats - You can freeze toys, treats, or even just a bowl of water for your dog to enjoy on a hot day. This can help them stay cool and entertained at the same time. Just be sure to supervise your dog with any frozen items, as they can pose a choking hazard.
- Spray your dog with a hose or give them a wet cold bandana - A quick spray from the hose or a wet bandana can help your dog cool down in a pinch. This is especially helpful if you don't have time for a full swim. Just be sure not to use too much force or get water in their ears, nose, or eyes. If you don’t have a dog bandana, you can buy a great bandana set here.
Enjoy summer with your pup with these tips for keeping dogs cool in hot weather! By following these simple tips, you can help your furry friend beat the heat and enjoy the dog days of summer. Dogs can't sweat like we do, so it's important to help them stay cool. Have fun in the sun!