Is Your Dog Dangerously Overheated? Every Owner Should Know These Heat Stroke Signs in Dogs

Overheating can happen very quickly in dogs and have dire consequences. Learn the signs, how to prevent it, and what to do if it’s too late.

dog-overheatediStock/Halfpoint

Summer for dogs means playing fetch in the lake and long walks in the park. But when it comes to the heat, it’s not all fun and games for your four-legged companions. Unlike humans, who are covered in sweat glands, a dog’s sweat glands are limited to their nose and paws; the only way for them to cool down is through panting. This means that overheating comes on suddenly for them, and it can be deadly.

Signs Your Dog Is Overheated:

  • Heavy panting or rapid breathing
  • Excessive thirst
  • Dry or pale gums
  • Glazed eyes
  • Increased drooling
  • Vomiting or diarrhea
  • Increased heart rate
  • Weakness, stumbling, or collapse
  • Elevated body temperature


Ways to Prevent Your Pup From Getting Overheated:

  • Don’t over-exercise or overexert their energy
  • Make sure your dog has a shady spot or air conditioned home to cool off and rest in
  • Always have clean, fresh drinking water in their bowls
  • Never leave your dog in a parked car on a warm day. Not even for a minute.
  • Don’t walk your pet on hot pavement. A trick to test if the pavement is too hot is to place your hand or bare foot on it for ten seconds. If it hurts you or you can’t hold it for ten seconds it will be harmful for your dog.

How to Treat Your Dog If He or She Is Overheated:

  • Check their temperature using a rectal thermometer. A dogs body temperature is typically 101.5°F. A temperature of 103° to 106° indicates moderate heat. Anything over 106° indicates severe heating.
  • Reduce their temperature by putting wet wash clothes or rags over their neck, under their armpits, and between their hind legs. If you’re outside a stream or pond can be used to cool your dog down.
  • Give them fresh, cool water
  • Take them to the vet. It is advised that you call ahead so that the vet will be able to treat your pet as soon as they arrive.

Sources: thedodo.com, dogingtonpost.com, healthypets.mercola.com

MORE: 50 Secrets Your Pet Won’t Tell You

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Originally Published in Reader's Digest

Morgan is the Assistant Digital Managing Editor at Reader’s Digest. She graduated from the University of New Hampshire in 2016 where she received her Bachelor of Arts in Journalism. When she’s not writing for rd.com or keeping the 650+ pieces of content our team produces every month organized, she likes watching HGTV, going on Target runs, and searching through Instagram to find new corgi accounts to follow.