Summertime usually means that you and your dog spend a lot more time outdoors. The warmer temps make it a great time for you and your dog to get in some quality outdoor adventures. However, even though higher temperatures mean heading outside, they can also lead to your dog overheating or suffering from heat exhaustion. It’s important to know how being outside can affect your furry family member. You will also want to learn how to tell if your pet is overheating, how to treat it, and how to prevent it from happening.
Signs Your Dog is Overheating
Our four-legged family members are not made to handle heat like a human does. We sweat out excess body heat, but dogs do not. Their first defense against overheating is to pant. Breathing rapidly helps their bodies cool down by circulating air throughout the body. Your dog’s body also naturally maintains a steady body temperature by diverting blood away from the core and out toward their skin. This often makes them feel hotter to the touch, but it is one way the heat is allowed to escape from their bodies. When these methods do not work to help the dog maintain a safe body temperature, the dog may begin to overheat. Some of the first signs your dog is overheating include:
- Rapid, heavy panting
- Mild fatigue
- No desire to play or exercise
Dangerous Dog Overheating Symptoms
When a dog’s body temperature rises above 105 degrees F, they are dangerously overheated. When their core temperature reaches these levels, they are likely suffering from heat stroke. It can be a life-threatening situation. Some of the symptoms your dog is overheating or suffering from a heatstroke include:
- Excessive panting or hyperventilating
- Red, dry gums
- Thickened saliva
- Rapid heartbeat
- Diarrhea or vomiting
How to Cool Down Your Dog
It’s important to recognize the signs of overheating in a dog. But you’ll also want to be able to take immediate action to help cool him back down. Here is how to cool down your dog.
- Take your dog to a cooler area such as indoors where there is a fan or air conditioning.
- Place cool wet towels or cloths on your dog’s neck, behind his hind legs, or in his armpits. You can also gently wet your dog’s ears and paws with cool water.
- Place your dog in a cool bath, or try hosing them down with the garden hose. Do not place ice cubes in the water to cool it down more quickly, it can cause a life-threatening problem for your dog.
- If your dog will take a drink, offer some cool water. Don’t force him to drink, though.
- Take your dog to the vet. Call ahead so your vet will be prepared with proper treatment for your dog.
- If your dog becomes unconscious, it is an emergency, get to the vet or animal ER as fast as you can.
How to Keep Your Dog Cool and Prevent Overheating
As a pet parent, it’s essential to become familiar with the signs of overheating in dogs, what to do if you sense they are too hot and knowing what steps to take to prevent them from overheating. Here are a few tips to help protect your dog from dangerous heat-related problems.
Doggie Hydration. Never skimp when it comes to water. Having a steady supply of fresh water can literally save your dog’s life. If you are at home, water should be easily accessible to your pet. If you are outdoors hiking, playing in the yard, or just relaxing on the porch, make sure to have some fresh water handy for your dog. If you are traveling outdoors, invest in the right gear like a travel bowl or a portable water bottle, so they get adequate water.
Summertime Gear (Mesh Harness). You most likely have clothes you wear for winter, and other items you wear just in the summer. Your dog should to! Obviously, your dog doesn’t need its cute little sweater for the hotter months. Just like you, they need lighter options when the temperatures begin to rise. The BrilliantK9 summer mesh harness is designed to help keep your dog cooler in the summer while still allowing for time outside to exercise.
Limit Outdoor Time on Extremely Hot Days. Good doggie parents take their pets for routine or long walks. During the hotter, humid days of summer, you may want to limit these longer walks to cooler hours of the day, like early mornings or later evenings. Summer activities like swimming or allowing your dog to run through the sprinkler may be refreshing activities for high-energy dogs that need to release more energy on hotter days.
Watch Your Dog Closely. Does your dog like to lay out in the sunshine, or spend more time outside? Just watch closely to any signs that they are stressed. Prevention is the best way to protect your dog from the heat. Staying aware of your dog’s signs of overheating can go a long way toward keeping them healthy and safe.
Never Leave Dogs in the Car. Even if you park your car in the shade and leave the windows cracked or down a little bit, it’s not safe for your furry friends. Temperatures rise quickly in a vehicle, usually much faster than you’d think. Never, ever leave a pet in a car in the summertime.
Do you have more questions or concerns about preventing heat exhaustion or heatstroke in dogs? Order your dog a mesh harness from BrilliantK9 to help keep them cooler when they are outdoors. Call your veterinarian about any specific concerns you may have about your breed or dog. Vets are a great resource that can help ensure your dog remains safe and healthy.