Recognizing & Preventing Heat Exhaustion Dogs | Hill’s Pet

Overheating in dogs is not something to be taken lightly. As the weather warms up, it’s important to be aware of how the heat affects your pup. Heat exhaustion in dogs can lead to serious and life-threatening conditions such as heat stroke and cardiac arrest. To help keep your dog safe and cool during the summer, here’s some information on the signs that he’s overheating and how to prevent it: Hint, a little water works wonders to keep your pup cool.

heat exhaustion and heat stroke

Unlike people, dogs do not sweat excess body heat. Although your dog does have some sweat glands located on his paws, they do little to help regulate his body temperature. instead, he does it through rapid, open-mouthed breathing, called gasping. But sometimes panting isn’t enough to keep you from overheating.

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Heat exhaustion in dogs can occur when the body temperature rises above normal. This varies slightly, according to, but temperatures of 103 degrees Fahrenheit and higher are generally accepted to be above normal. If the temperature continues to rise and reaches 106 or higher, your pup is in the danger zone for heat stroke, during which the organs begin to shut down and his heart may stop completely.

warning signs

Fortunately, it’s not hard to spot signs of overheating in dogs. excessive panting is the first symptom. A dangerously overheated dog, according to the American Kennel Club’s Canine Health Foundation, may collapse or experience seizures, vomit or have diarrhea, and may also have gums or a tongue that turn blue or bright red. you may want to identify the problem before it becomes so serious, though, to intervene and prevent serious overheating. the first signs are more subtle: it can be as simple as your dog seems less receptive to commands than usual. when you call his name, instead of turning to look at you, he may walk away. if in doubt, take your dog out of the heat. The Humane Society of the United States adds that signs of possible heat stroke include glassy eyes, excessive drooling, rapid heart rate, dizziness or lack of coordination, fever, lethargy, and loss of consciousness.

risk factors

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overweight pug pantingboxers, and bulldogs. Overweight dogs and those that suffer from medical conditions that cause difficulty breathing or heart problems are especially susceptible.

Extremely active dogs and breeds that work or hunt (such as herders, retrievers, and spaniels) are also at higher risk, especially during the warmer months. You have to be careful not to push these dogs too hard, so make sure they get plenty of breaks to rest in the shade and are well hydrated at all times.

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Environmental factors can also put a dog at risk. be aware of not only high temperatures, but also high humidity, which can increase the chance of heat exhaustion in dogs. All dogs are at increased risk of overheating if they are not given adequate shade or another cooler place to relax indoors. and dogs left in a hot car are in serious danger of heat exhaustion and heat stroke.

what to do if your dog is overheating

At the first sign of overheating, take immediate action to cool your dog down. vetstreet recommends the following steps to treat heat exhaustion in dogs:

  1. Immediately move your dog to a cooler area, either indoors with air conditioning or in the shade under a fan.
  2. Use a rectal thermometer to check his temperature. Heat exhaustion typically occurs when a dog’s temperature drops between 103 and 106 degrees. a temperature above 106 puts you at risk for heat stroke. if he’s in the danger zone, call your vet.
  3. If you’re near a body of fresh water, like a lake or baby pool, let your dog take a bath to cool off. if not, you can use cool, wet washcloths or towels to help. place cool, wet cloths on his neck, armpits, and between his hind legs, and you can also gently moisten his ears and paw pads with cool water.
  4. if he is conscious and willing to drink, give him water cold. , sweet water. however, do not force it as it may end up in your lungs. if he can’t or won’t drink, or can’t keep water down, moisten his tongue with water. do not feed him ice cubes, which could cause his temperature to drop too quickly and cause him to go into shock.
  5. take him to the vet. if he hasn’t already, call ahead so they can be ready to take immediate action as soon as he arrives.

prevent heat exhaustion in dogs

Of course, the best cure is prevention. You can help prevent your dog from overheating with some basic safety practices. These include limiting exercise or outdoor activity on excessively hot or humid days, providing plenty of shade and water when your dog is outdoors, and never, under any circumstances, leaving your pet in a parked car, even in a car. the shadow with the windows closed below. On balmy days with temperatures in the 70s, the inside of a parked car can reach 120 degrees in minutes, making this an extremely dangerous environment to leave your dog in, even for a short time.

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White spaniel dog swimming in lake water.exercise in order to stay calm, take him swimming or let him run and play in the sprinkler before heading back indoors. You can also use a cooling body wrap or vest to help keep him cool without getting him wet. And if your dog has long hair or a thick coat, consider getting him a short haircut to get through the hot months—just be sure to leave enough fur to protect his skin from the sun.

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Also, if you take your dog for long walks, it might be best to take them during the cooler times of the day, such as early morning or late at night (keep in mind that hot sidewalks and pavement can burn your dog’s hands). paws ). make sure you take water with you and let him take a break from time to time. if you run with your dog, make sure you don’t overdo it. Just as hotter temperatures make it harder for you to stay hydrated during a good run, it’s even more true for your pup.

If you’re going to hunt or hike with your dog, or if he has a job to do, like herding sheep or cattle, be sure to give your dog plenty of breaks in the shade and make sure he has plenty of fresh water. consider getting it wet or wearing a cooling vest while active, and keep a close eye on it for early signs of overheating. remember that working dogs tend to be so focused on their tasks that they don’t realize when they need to rest and cool off. It’s up to you to monitor your dog and make sure he gets the breaks he needs to stay healthy.

Finally, don’t forget to put a plan in place to keep your dog cool if the power goes out or the air conditioner stops working. As uncomfortable as you feel in those conditions, it’s even worse for your dog, whose body temperature is already much higher than yours. if you plan to retire to a cooler place, make sure it’s welcome too. otherwise, consider leaving him in a kennel until it is safe for him to return home in cooler conditions.

Armed with the knowledge of how to recognize overheating, how to respond, and how to avoid it in the first place, you can look forward to a safe, fun, and happy summer with your four-legged friend.

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