As the temperature rises, so do the risks of dogs overheating and experiencing heat exhaustion. Dog owners of Southern California have to be extra cautious during the summer months to keep dogs cool and happy.
Whether your dog has long hair or a short coat, and no matter your dog’s exercise level, all dog owners need to know the signs and symptoms of dogs overheating. Knowing this lifesaving information will help you identify heat exhaustion and help prevent heat stroke. Read on to find out the signs to look out for, and what to do if your dog experiences these symptoms.
Cooling vests are a great way to keep active dogs cool.
Signs of dogs overheating
Canines aren’t as efficient at releasing heat as we are. If you think your dog is overheating, the two best things to be aware of are the temperature at the time of symptoms and the signs of doggy dehydration:
- Excessive panting
- Dark pink to red tongue lolling out of mouth
- Dry, tacky mouth and thick saliva
- Frequent vomiting
- Pale gums
- Increased heart rate
Signs of a worsening heat stroke can be:
- Increased difficulty breathing
- Gums that turn bright red, then blue or purple
- Weakness and/or fatigue
- Collapse or coma
Treating heat exhaustion
Heat exhaustion in dogs is very serious and the onset can be sudden, escalating into an emergency situation in a matter of minutes. Knowing how to treat a dog experiencing heat stroke may be vital to saving your dog’s life:
- Immediately remove the dog from the heat.
- Next, sponge or pour cool water on his abdomen, armpits (inguinal and axillary areas) and feet. Simultaneously, offer your dog drinking water. Never use alcohol to cool the skin or feet.
- Make sure to spray the paws and stomach, not just the top of the dog, when spraying it with water. Dogs cool from the bottom up.
- Allow dogs to drink cool water, but don’t force feed water if the pup cannot drink it freely on their own.
- Do not cover or confine a dog. Placing a dog in a closed crate will hold the heat from his body in around his body.
- Any dog that collapses or shows signs of severe overheating should be taken immediately to a veterinarian or ER. Intravenous or subcutaneous fluids and medical treatments could be life-saving.
It should go without saying, but NEVER leave a dog in a car in the sun. Additionally, do not use rubbing alcohol on the pads of dog’s paws. While alcohol is said to draw out some of the heat, it is also absorbed into the dog’s vitals, which can be deadly.
By being cognizant of our dog’s conditions, we can help keep them safe and healthy during the hottest months of the year. We hope that everyone has a cool and safe summer!