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What to do if your dog is overheated?

Author: Alexandra Wrigley

Do you live in a hot country? Does your country experience hot summers? If that’s a yes to any of those questions, you might be concerned about your dog’s well-being, especially if it has a big furry coat.

One of the main concerns is your dog overheating. 

It’s always good to know if your dog is too hot, as you can quickly step in. The reason you must do it is that your dog can be at risk of life-threatening conditions such as heat exhaustion, heatstroke, and in the worst instance, death.

6 Signs your dog is overheating

Before you step in to provide the appropriate help, it’s important to know how to tell if your dog is overheating.

1. Frequent panting

If your dog is panting more than normal, then it’s highly likely they’re overheating. You can tell the difference between normal and excessive panting is because your dog will still be out of breath when relaxed.

2. Noisy breathing

Another typical sign of your dog overheating is if it starts to breathe loudly and deeply. This is a sign they’re trying to put more oxygen into their lungs from overheating.

3. Drooling more than normal

Every dog drools from time to time, but if you notice your dog drooling more than normal, it could be a sign they’re overheating. In particular, if dogs drool while panting and saliva is thick and sticky, then it’s more than likely they’re overheating.

4. Fast and irregular heartbeat

In hot temperatures, your dog’s heart may beat faster than normal. The reason it beats faster than normal is due to vasodilation. Vasodilation causes their blood vessels to become wider to increase blood flow to other areas of their body, deprived of oxygen.

5. Lethargy and disorientation

When dogs are overheated, they tend to be a lot lazier than normal and sleep more frequently. They also may have difficulty standing up or stumbling around when trying to walk.

6. Vomiting and diarrhea

When a dog starts to overheat, they are more at risk of becoming dehydrated. As a result, dogs can suffer from gastrointestinal upset and start to vomit and have watery stools.

What to do if your dog overheats?

If your dog overheats or you feel like they’re about to overheat, it’s important to do the following:

Watch your dog closely for any signs of overheating

In hot weather, look for typical signs such as frequent panting, heavy breathing, pale gums, salivating more than normal, lethargy, vomiting, diarrhea, fast heartbeat, and more. As soon as you notice unusual signs of overheating, move them to a cool area immediately. In these instances, dogs with heavy or double fur coats tend more to display these symptoms than breeds with shorter hair.

Take their temperature

Generally, a healthy and normal temperature for a dog is 101.5 degrees Fahrenheit. It usually occurs around 103 -106 degrees; then extreme overheating reaches past 106 degrees. If your dog is in the moderate or severe range, call your vet immediately or take your dog to the nearest animal hospital.

Lower their temperature

Place wet towels in cold water and gently pat your dog’s neck under their armpits and legs with them. You should wet their paws and ear flaps to keep them cool too. If you’re outside and notice them overheating, take advantage of natural resources such as ponds or lakes.

Give them drinking water

To avoid dehydration, you will want to give your dog fresh drinking water. But don’t force the water; they could take it into their lungs. If attempts aren’t successful, try wetting their tongue with water.

Take your dog to the vet

If you’ve tried all the above and still not noticed your dog cooling down, then you should take it to the vet. You should record its temperature to inform the vet and call in advance so they can prepare for the necessary treatment.

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