Heat Exhaustion and Dehydration in Dogs

Summer in the Midwest is great for getting outside and enjoying the weather. Taking your dog for a walk is a terrific way for both you and your pet to get some exercise. But dogs are built differently than humans, and sometimes they can’t handle the heat as well as we can.

Being aware of heat exhaustion in dogs and knowing the signs of dehydration in dogs can help keep your dog healthy and maybe even save its life. This article will outline some of the signs and symptoms of heat exhaustion and dehydration in dogs and what to do if your dog is suffering from these ailments.

Heat exhaustion in dogs

Heat exhaustion or hyperthermia occurs in dogs when their body temperature rises to unhealthy levels. Their normal body temperature is 101.5℉, and anything up to 104℉ is considered heat exhaustion. A body temperature above that can lead to heat stroke. It’s important to recognize the symptoms of heat exhaustion to prevent the onset of heat stroke.

Dogs can’t manage the heat as well as humans because they cannot sweat like people do to maintain and regulate their body temperature. While they can pant, it’s not as effective as sweating, and certain flat-faced dog breeds like pugs, boxers and bulldogs aren’t able to breathe as efficiently and are more prone to heat-related conditions. Here are some signs and symptoms of heat exhaustion you should watch out for.

Signs of heat exhaustion

If you notice your dog has these symptoms, you should get your dog to a shaded or cooler place, offer them water and put a stop to all physical activity:

  • Heavy panting
  • Weakness and collapsing

If your dog’s condition continues to worsen, heat exhaustion could become heat stroke. Here are the symptoms of heat stroke:

  • Gums change color (either to bright red or pale white)
  • Excessive drooling
  • Warm to the touch
  • Quickened heart rate
  • Dry nose
  • Lying on the ground and unable or unwilling to rise
  • Vomiting
  • Bleeding in mouth or stool
  • Seizures
  • Muscle tremors
  • Staggering
  • Coma
  • Death

Treatment for severe heat exhaustion/heat stroke

Get your dog out of the heat, stop physical activity, offer water and take its temperature, preferably with a rectal thermometer. If it reads about normal but less than 105℉, take your dog to the vet right away. If it’s above 105℉, you can try to cool your dog down first before taking it to the vet.

Using cool water (not cold), hose down or sponge your dog’s entire body, being sure to focus on the underside. A fan could help here as well. Take your dog’s temperature again. If it’s beginning to go down, keep repeating the process until it gets to 103℉, then take your dog to the vet. Don’t reduce your dog’s temperature below 103℉, as this may be unsafe.

If you’re unable to considerably reduce your dog’s temperature with the above method, immediately take them to the vet.

Heat stress prevention

Don’t ever leave your dog in a hot car with the windows up, and be mindful of your dog’s health, body and behaviors. Always make sure they can get out of the sun and have some water. In doing this, you can prevent heat exhaustion and dehydration in dogs.

Call for doggy daycare today

If you need someone to care for your dogs this summer, give us a call at Canine Country Club. We know how important your pet is to you, and that’s why we offer a variety of services that will leave both you and your dog feeling happy.

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