• July 30th, 2019
    Written by: Kimberly

    As we are in the peak of summer and heat, it’s important to remember to be wary of our dog’s wellbeing. Many dogs become overheated easily to the point that they could potentially faint, develop health issues, or find themselves in serious danger. .

    Dogs get rid of heat in the form of panting since they do not have as many active sweat glands as humans do. However, panting isn’t always enough to keep your dog cool when struggling with excess heat. This can be especially problematic in Florida, where the humidity makes it harder for pets to sweat efficiently. 

    What Are the Signs of Heat Exhaustion?

    If the heat becomes too unbearable, your dog may start to show signs of heat exhaustion. Heat exhaustion is of serious concern, and caused when your dog’s temperature starts to rise above 103 degrees. Signs that your dog may be facing heat exhaustion include:

    • Excessive Panting
    • Blue or Red Tongue
    • Slower Movement
    • Looking for Shade
    • Rapid Heart Beat
    • Wide Eyes
    • Staggering
    • Increased Anxiety
    • Drooling
    • Vomiting
    • Diarrhea

    It is incredibly crucial to look out for these signs during these hot months as you may be putting your dog at serious risk if these issues are not addressed. Many symptoms could seem like no big deal at first, but it's better to be cautious than to put your dog in harm’s way.

    Dog Breeds More Susceptible to Heat Exhaustion and Heat Stroke

    Any and all dogs can be susceptible to heat exhaustion. It is especially common in hair dogs (because of their excess heat) and dogs with short noises that have a harder time panting to cool down. That is why the dog breeds most at risk include:

    • Retrievers
    • Shih tzus
    • Pugs
    • Boxers
    • Huskies
    • Bulldogs

    Yet even if your dog was bred for hot weather, it is still at risk of heat exhaustion in some of these summer temperatures. 

    What to Do if Your Dog is Overheated

    As soon as you recognize your dog is suffering from heat exhaustion, it is important to act swiftly to try to combat these feelings. This can be accomplished in five different ways:

    • Remove Your Dog From Source - It is important to take your dog into a space with air conditioning or into the shade with a fan. You want to help him/her cool down if the symptoms haven’t gotten too extreme yet.
    • Check His Temperature - Using a rectal thermometer, you can determine your dog’s body temperature. It is extremely concerning if it reaches temperatures above 103 degrees, and is cause for calling your vet.
    • Go For a Swim - If there is a permissible place to allow your dog to take a dip, such as your pool or a lake, let him. If not, you can also use cool and wet towels or cloth and place it over him.
    • Give Water - It’s important to hydrate your dog, but be sure that you are not forcing him to drink it. If your dog is unable to drink, you can simply wet the tongue.
    • Go to the Vet - If your dog’s symptoms seem extreme and of cause for health concerns, take him to the vet. It is also important to take a dog who already poses health concerns to the vet to prevent further risks.

    It is incredibly important to take action when your dog shows any signs of heat exhaustion. Limit your dog’s outdoor activities during these hot months and avoid taking them outside during the times of day at peak temperature.