Dog Days of Summer: Is Your Pet Overheating?

Have you noticed your furry friend struggling to catch his breath after playing outside this summer? Dogs, as well as other animals, are more sensitive to the heat than you might think. If pet owners are not aware of the signs of overheating, fun in the sun can quickly become dangerous – even deadly. However, a little extra caution can make all the difference. Follow these five tips to make the dog days of summer a walk in the park for your pet.

1. Watch for the Warning Signsgolden retriever dog relaxing, resting,or sleeping at the beach, under the bright sun
Panting may seem relatively normal for your dog, but if it becomes heavy or continues for an extended amount of time, your pet may be overheating. This is often the first sign of a dangerous situation. If you notice heavy panting, watch for other symptoms of overheating, such as:

  • Excessive thirst
  • Glazed eyes
  • Confusion
  • Weakness/collapsing
  • Increased heart rate
  • Excessive drooling
  • Seizures
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea or rectal bleeding

2. Know Your Pet’s Risk Level
Did you know that some dogs are at higher risk of overheating than others? At-risk pets include:

  • Brachycephalic breeds (dogs with flat faces/short noses such as pugs and bulldogs)
  • Long-haired dogs
  • Older dogs
  • Puppies
  • Dogs with heart conditions or other chronic health issues
  • Dogs accustomed to cooler weather or indoor living

3. Take Precautions on Hot Days
Pet overheating is easily preventable. Consider the following actions for maintaining your dog’s health, especially on warmer days.

  • Keep dogs inside throughout the middle of the day
  • Opt for early morning or late evening walks, when pavement is cooler.
  • Trim longer coats – but don’t shave, as this actually can cause overheating
  • Provide a constant supply of cool water
  • Never, ever, ever leave your pet in a vehicle, garage, or other enclosed area without ventilation or AC

4. Act Quickly if Overheating Occurs
Sometimes, overheating happens in the blink of an eye. This is why all pet owners need to know how to respond. Learning how to take your dog’s temperature with a rectal thermometer is important for addressing the severity of the situation. A temperature of 101 is normal, with 102 to 103 indicating moderate overheating. Anything above 103 is considered dangerous. If overheating:

  • Take your dog’s temperature to determine the severity
  • Provide cool, fresh drinking water
  • Place cool, wet towels over your dog’s neck and armpits
  • Get to the vet quickly if your pet does not start to recover on his own

5. Visit Your Vet for a Wellness Check
Even if you have not dealt with an overheating situation this summer, a checkup with your vet can help you stay ahead of the heat. Keeping your dogs (and other animals) up-to-date on their annual wellness visits is one way to be proactive about their health. Just give us a call to schedule your appointment today at (919) 304-5200. We look forward to seeing you soon.