The sun is out and your dog’s tongue is out, it’s time for fun! There’s no rain, no work — finally, you and your dog can hit the trails early, chill poolside, or go to the beach and play ultimate frisbee. Whatever summer activity you choose, when it comes to fun with your four-legged friend, knowing how to protect your dog is key. And the number one canine summer concern is dog overheating. Learn more about what puts dogs at risk for overheating, what signs you should look out for, and what you should do if your dog seems to be overheating.
There’s a reason why your dog’s tongue is always out this season. Dogs do sweat, but they don’t sweat all over their body, the way humans do. Their sweat glands are found in their paw pads. This isn’t necessarily to help with thermoregulation, but it can help with traction. Panting is a good way for your pup to reduce their core body temperature.
As you and your dog spend time under the hot sun, heat exhaustion can lead to heatstroke, which can escalate quickly. Watching out for signs of overheating can help you take action before your dog’s temperature gets high enough to lead to heatstroke.
Summer activities with your dog are the best, but make sure you’re keeping a close eye out for signs of overheating. These can include panting, drooling (particularly if your dog is drooling more than usual), vomiting, dry or red gums, diarrhea, wobbly legs, or elevated temperature. Remember that a dog’s typical temperature is generally between 100.5°F and 102.5°F.
Panting is one of the earliest and most common signs of an overheated dog, so pay attention if your dog is breathing unusually fast and if their breathing is noisy. If your dog is overheating, contact your veterinarian as soon as possible. You should also try to lower their body temperature and remove them from a hot environment if possible. Avoid giving them ice baths or lowering their temperature too quickly.
Certain dogs are especially at risk for overheating. Knowing the risk factors is essential for dog overheating prevention this summer. If you have a large dog or a dog who is obese, keep a particular eye out for symptoms. There are certain health conditions or medical histories that can also put your dog at risk for overheating. For example, there is a mutation in the DNM1 gene in certain dogs that can cause a condition known as Exercise-Induced Collapse, which is aggravated by heat.
Embark tests for Exercise-Induced Collapse along with 230+ other genetic health risks. Using an Embark Breed + Health Dog DNA Test can help you and your vet provide your pup with proactive, personalized care.