Dog Health Symptoms: Is Your Dog Overheated?

February 7, 2019
As a dog owner with over 25 years of experience, I can attest that having a dog is one of the most wonderful things that has ever happened in my life. The companionship and joy they bring is incomparable.

Heat stroke and heat exhaustion can happen for dogs as well as people. Just to be clear before discussing how to prevent heat stroke or heat exhaustion with a dog, let's define heat stroke and heat exhaustion.

The Definition of Heat Stroke and Heat Exhaustion:

Heat stroke is defined by as the body's inability to regulate its temperature. This occurs when the body has prolonged exposure to high temperatures. It can also occur when strenuous exercise is prolonged for long periods of time without refuelling or rest. Heat exhaustion is a predecessor to heat stroke. Heat exhaustion is common in the summer time for elderly, people with high blood pressure, and construction workers that are not hydrating properly while working. Dogs are not immune to heat exhaustion or heat stroke and owners should be aware with high summertime temperatures. However dogs may not claim to have a headache. Owners need to know the signs of heat exhaustion in dogs to prevent heat stroke.

Symptoms of Heat Exhaustion in Dogs

The symptoms of heat exhaustion are the same in dogs as humans, but the characteristics of what to look for are a little different. Dogs sweat through their mouth, so owners need to be aware of when a dog is panting more than normal. Dehydration may be checked by looking at the color of the gums and checking the texture of the gums. Dry gums mean less hydration. Normal temperatures for dogs are around 103 degrees Fahrenheit. Temperatures above 105 degrees Fahrenheit is dangerous for a dog.

Prevention of Heat Exhaustion in Dogs

The key to preventing heat stroke in dogs is outlines by the following points:

  • Gradually increase exercise at higher temperatures as the seasons change from spring to summer
  • Carry water for the dog
  • Pay attention to when the dog is tired, or changes in temperament, as compared to when the dog is rested

Responding to Possible Heat Exhaustion

If a dog shows symptoms as discussed above, get the dog out of the heat immediately. Offer small amounts of room temperature water slowly. Dampen the dog's fur and use ice under the pits if it's available. When the dog is able to stand, move, have more energy, take it to the veterinarian's office stated.

Depending on the breed, fluids may need to be given via a needle under the skin. The biggest way to prevent heat exhaustion and stroke is to never let the dog get to the point of dehydration. Also, keep in mind that swimming in water is still work, and that the dog needs to break to drink. Use common sense and keep man and his best friend healthy.

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