Your dog is just like any other member of your family. If the weather feels hot to you, then your furry-friend could be struggling.
Imagine if you had to wear a fur coat around all summer?!?!
Their fur, combined with a less competent way of cooling down, makes dogs susceptible to high temperatures and heatstroke – especially when it comes to breeds that are naturally bad breathers or if your pup carries some extra weight.
That’s why it’s so important to know when your dog is showing the warning signs of overheating.
Why do dogs overheat?
The main risk-factor for overheating in dogs is a lack of water. Dehydration can make your little buddy more sensitive to hot weather in the summer. They can’t tell you that they’re thirsty, and you probably won’t notice that there’s something wrong unless they start panting more than usual.
It’s a myth that dogs don’t sweat. They just cool-off differently. Dog’s have sweat-glands in their paws, and they cool down through panting. This is why you should avoid walking your dog on the hot pavement because it can cause their paws to sweat excessively which can lead to quicker dehydration.
Most pets will get distracted on an exciting walk around the block, but you should always try to offer them water during the hotter months. You can grab a collapsible bowl that’s convenient to take with you anywhere. Just pour out some drinking-water every thirty minutes, and your dog will get used to taking a water-break when going out for extended periods of time.
How do I know if my dog is overheating?
The first warning sign that your dog is overheating is excessive panting. It’s perfectly normal for your dog to breath heavily while running, but their panting should calm down when resting. If your pup won’t stop panting while taking a break, then they are probably too hot. Lots of drooling can also be an easy way to spot that your dog might be overheating.
Another warning sign is a lack of responsiveness. If your dog is responding to commands a lot slower than normal, then they may be close to suffering heatstroke. You’ll need to judge your pet’s reaction time for yourself. If you feel like you’re being ignored, then it might be the side-effects of dehydration.
The final stage of overheating is heatstroke. Your pet may faint, or they may suffer from heat-induced seizures. They will likely have very dry gums and might begin to stumble when walking.
Heatstroke is a very serious condition that can become fatal when untreated.
Here’s a summary of the symptoms to watch out for and monitor:
- Excessive Panting At Rest
- Excessive Drooling
- Pale Or Dry Gums
- Unresponsive or Slow Reaction to Commands
- Fainting and Seizures (try not to let it get this far!!)
What should I do if my dog is overheating?
There are several things you can do to help your dog lower their body temperature, but you should avoid bringing down their temperature too quickly. For example, it’s best not to give your dog ice cubes to chew on. It can induce shock, and make the situation that much more intense.
Start by offering fresh water to your pup when they are overheating. Let them drink as much as they’d like. If you’re too far from home, then you should find a shady place to rest. Walking home right away might expose them too much to the sun, and it could trigger heatstroke.
Pouring water onto your dog’s coat can also help a lot. Remembering that dogs cool down most efficiently via their stomach, which is why you will see them lay down in water or on cold tiles. If your dog isn’t able to drink, then get their fur or stomach wet. Don’t force drinking, it could cause them to choke.
Try getting them to wade or sit in the water if there is a puddle or bed of water nearby. It’s an awesome way to safely stay cool on a hot day. A wet towel is another good option in less serious cases. That way your dog can decide when they need to cool down on their own.
Of course, as a preventative measure don’t forget to bring your dog indoors with air-conditioning during the hottest days of the year.
Here’s a summary of the things you can do to treat your pup if they are overheating:
- Offer Water
- Rest in a Shady Spot
- Wet Your Dog, Preferably on the Stomach
- Lay Your Pup on a Wet Towel
- Take them to an Air-conditioned Environment
Enjoy Those Summer Days But Be Smart
Don’t forget to take care of your furry friend’s water needs while playing outdoors. Pay close to attention to the way your dog is reacting, and be ready to take lots of breaks during the hottest parts of the day.
Keep plenty of bottled water on you and you’ll to have a great time in the sun without putting your pup at risk of overheating or heatstroke.