Living life with a permanent fur coat makes hot summer days even hotter. While dogs won’t complain about being uncomfortable, they can get dangerously overheated in certain situations.
One of the biggest culprits for overheated dogs is hot cars. People crack the windows and run into the store, thinking that Fido will be just fine for a few minutes. However, the temperature inside a car can skyrocket on a hot day. In fact, it doesn’t even have to be particularly hot outside for the sun to heat a car to dangerous temperatures.
Other causes of overheating include leaving a dog outside with insufficient shade or exercising them too much on a hot day. Using common sense and closely watching their behavior will help you avoid overheating your pup. Here are four signs that your dog is too hot.
1. Fast and Shallow Panting
Fast and shallow panting is the most obvious sign that your dog is starting to get too hot. Humans sweat to cool down while dogs pant. Technically, dogs have sweat glands on the pads of their feet and in their ear canals, but these play a minor role in cooling off.
You’ve probably noticed your dog panting during a walk or when the sun’s out. Similar to how humans sweat, this is normal; the panting is how the dog’s body is made to work. However, when the panting becomes shallow and fast, the dog is trying to remove heat from its body at a faster rate. This indicates that they need to move to a cooler location.
2. Excessive Drooling
Drooling is a part of everyday life for many dog owners, and it is not worrisome. However, when a dog starts to overheat, their drooling can intensify.
This hyper-salivation occurs because the dog is becoming agitated and nervous. Noticing excessive drooling early on can give you a chance to give the dog water and get them into an air conditioned space.
3. Reddened Gums
Another common sign of hyperthermia in dogs is reddened gums. If you notice your dog’s gums are redder than normal, they probably need to cool down.
If you can’t get into a cool room when you notice this symptom, you can help your dog by giving them water and wetting them with a cloth or towel. The water evaporating off of their skin will help cool them down in the same way that sweating regulates body temperatures for humans.
4. Confused Behavior
If your dog acts disoriented, dizzy, or confused, they may be headed to even more serious symptoms of heat stroke. Seizures, muscle tremors, and kidney failure can occur when a dog is severely overheated.
If you notice disorientation, take that as a cue to get the dog to somewhere cool as quickly as possible. If you’re camping or hiking, look for a stream or pond for the dog to get in and cool off. At a bare minimum, get into the shade and offer them water.
Hyperthermia is a dangerous condition, but you can avoid it by recognizing its symptoms early on. Dogs live to take care of us, so let’s help them prevent this unpleasant and avoidable problem.