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How to Help Your Dog If They're Overheated

Post by: Kenzie on Jul 23rd 2019

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How to Help Your Dog If They're Overheated

Heat is the most daunting threat your dog will face this summer. High temperatures may signify the perfect season for venturing outdoors to find adventure with your best friend, but dehydration and overheating come on quickly, with potentially grim results. So before you go out to enjoy the sunshine, here are some ways to help your dog if they become overheated, brought to you by our dog obedience training experts.

 What Causes Overheating?

All dogs can overheat when exposed to high temperatures for too long. Some are more at risk than others (such as breeds with thick or long coats, dogs kept primarily outside, obese dogs, dogs with medical or chronic health conditions, and older dogs) but the absence of shade and water will eventually lead to overheating and dehydration with any kind of breed. The biggest fear of overheating is that it can lead to heatstroke, a more dangerous situation that takes place when your dog’s internal temperature gets too high for their body to manage. Heatstroke can lead to permanent organ damage or even death if help and treatment are not immediately sought out.

 What Are the Signs?

  • Excessive and continuous panting/breathing, labored breathing.
  • Extreme thirst.
  • High body temperature (any fever above 105° F is potentially life-threatening).
  • Rapid pulse.
  • Unusual and excessive drooling.
  • Change in gum or tongue color (bright or dark red).
  • Sunken/glazed eyes.
  • Lethargy.
  • Difficulty walking/standing, staggering gait, disorientation.
  • Diarrhea.
  • Vomiting.
  • Seizures/convulsions.

 What Do You Do?

  • Move them to a cooler, shaded area. If possible, get them inside a building or car with air conditioning.
  • Offer them small sips of cool water to drink as well. Be careful with the amount and temperature–too much or too cold water may make them vomit, worsening their dehydration even further.
  • Help them lower their body temperature using cool–not too cold–water in any way you can. A bath, shower, pool, river, garden hose, or washcloth will help cool them down.
  • Get your dog to a vet as soon as possible. Even if they seem to have recovered, overheating can cause unseen internal injuries such as blood clots and organ damage that can only be discovered and treated by a vet.

 How Can You Prevent Overheating?

  • Avoid walking, hiking, playing, and any exercise with your dog during the hottest parts of the day; wait for the temperature to cool before you go outside together.
  • If you and your pup can't resist the outdoors, find activities that involve water, such as swimming or running around in the sprinklers.
  • Give them a more summer-appropriate haircut (avoid shaving them, though, as this can lead to them getting sunburned).
  • Never leave your dog unattended inside the car without air conditioning. They may be able to spend time in the sun in your backyard, but the heat quickly becomes stifling and deadly when trapped within an airless car.
  • When you go outside, provide your dog with enough shade, water (hydration is especially important; make sure they drink at least every hour), and breaks to cool down.
  • Instead of going outside during hot hours, take advantage of your home's air conditioning and find ways to exercise and play around inside.
  • Closely monitor your dog for symptoms of overheating, and take action if you suspect they are in danger.

Overheating is scary, but it’s easily preventable and can be dealt with if acted upon quickly enough. Knowing the signs of overheating and the necessary steps to help them will allow you to keep your best friend healthy and cool this summer.

Do you have any questions or concerns? Contact Dog Training Elite today for professional dog obedience training services to help your pup be even safer when outside in the heat, we're happy to help!