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All About Overheating in Dogs

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The sun is out and your dog’s tongue is out, it’s time for fun! Finally, you and your dog can hit the trails early, chill poolside, or go to the beach and play ultimate frisbee. However, high temperatures come with higher risks of dog overheating, the number one canine safety concern in the summer.

Whatever summer activity you choose, when it comes to fun with your four-legged friend, knowing how to protect your dog is key. 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.

Overheating can be life-threatening if not treated immediately. Learn the facts to keep your dog safe and cool this summer.

How dogs stay cool

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.

Did you know? Dogs don't sweat all over their bodies, so they have to pant 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 in dogs can help you take action before your dog’s temperature gets high enough to lead to heatstroke.

Hyperthermia is an elevation in body temperature that is above the generally accepted normal range.

Signs of overheating in dogs

Summer activities with your dog are the best, but make sure you’re keeping a close eye out for signs of overheating in dogs. Signs of overheating in dogs can include:

  • Panting
  • Drooling (particularly if your dog is drooling more than usual),
  • Vomiting
  • Dry or red gums
  • Diarrhea
  • Wobbly legs
  • Elevated temperature

Remember that a dog’s typical temperature is generally between 100.5°F and 102.5°F.

Watch for these possible symptoms of overheating: panting, excessive drooling, vomiting, dry or red gums, diarrhea, wobbly legs, elevated temperature.

What to do if your dog is overheating

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.

If your dog shows signs of overheating: 1) Attempt to lower the body temperature, avoiding ice or very cold water 2) Get them to a veterinarian as soon as possible.

Risk factors for overheating

Certain dogs are especially at risk for overheating. Knowing the risk factors can help you prevent heat exhaustion or heatstroke. 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. 

Risk factors for overheating: Larger body size, obesity, predisposed health conditions, dehydration, history of exposure to heat or intense exercise, breed predisposition.

Embark tests for Exercise-Induced Collapse along with 250+ other genetic health risks. Using an Embark Breed + Health Test can help you and your vet provide your pup with proactive, personalized care.

Embark Breed + Health Test
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Did you know? Exercise-induced collapse is a genetic condition Embark tests for. It's most often associated with Labrador Retrievers but can be found in other breeds.

 

By knowing the signs of overheating to watch out for, plus these safety tips about dog paw protection, you and your dog can stay cool this summer.

 

Mo Osinubi Contributor

An animal lover at heart, MO grew up with a Rottweiler puppy named Sheba, who sparked her love for animals. Throughout high school, MO worked as an aquarium guide at the New England Aquarium and dreamed of becoming a marine biologist. However, her passion for writing and media led her to study marketing and communication. At Embark Veterinary, MO is a Senior Growth Marketing Manager and is delighted to bridge her love for animals with her career.

Read more about Mo Osinubi

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