Symptoms of Heat Exhaustion in Dogs

Summer weather is a great excuse to get outside and enjoy the sunshine. Barbecues, sports, swimming and other recreation are in full swing now. If you’re planning on taking your dogs out to spend more time outdoors, especially for training, it’s important that you understand the symptoms of heat exhaustion in dogs. Like humans, dogs can quickly become dehydrated and lethargic—or worse. Here are some summer safety tips for your dogs.

What is heat exhaustion?

If you’ve ever experienced heat exhaustion yourself, you know it’s an unpleasant experience. Dogs are unable to regulate their body temperature the way humans do, through sweating. Instead, they pant, which is not as effective.

Heat exhaustion occurs when your dog’s body temperature is too high. They could experience mild symptoms like lethargy and excessive panting, but if they’re left in the hot weather for long periods of time, they may lose consciousness, experience organ failure or run a high fever.

Symptoms of heat exhaustion

It’s very important that you learn to recognize the symptoms of heat exhaustion to protect your dog’s health:

  • Excessive panting: Dogs primarily regulate their body temperature by panting. If your dog pants more or faster than normal, they may be experiencing heat exhaustion.
  • Lack of urine: Dehydration is commonly associated with heat exhaustion. One way to tell if your dog is dehydrated is if they can’t seem to urinate—their body is holding on to the water.
  • Fever: Is your dog’s nose hot and dry instead of wet and cool? That indicates a fever. If their body temperature is over 103 degrees Fahrenheit, try to cool them down and take them to a vet if necessary.
  • Excessive drooling: If their drool is more excessive than usual, or seems thick and sticky, this is a sign your dog is overheated and not getting enough water.
  • Lethargy: Humans aren’t the only ones who lose the will to move when they’re overheated. If your dog is exhibiting signs of lethargy, they may be overheated.
  • Rapid pulse: Is your dog’s pulse faster than normal? (Remember, big dogs have naturally slower pulses, while small dogs and puppies have faster pulses.) This is another sign they’re experiencing heat exhaustion.
  • Vomiting and diarrhea: These are two unmistakable signs of a problem. If your dog experiences either vomiting or diarrhea, pay attention. They may need the help of a vet.
  • Dizziness: If your dog is having trouble walking in a straight line, that’s an indication that they may be dizzy and lightheaded.

Treating heat exhaustion

If your dog is suffering from heat exhaustion, take them somewhere cooler right away. Use cool (not cold) water to bring their body temperature down, and set them in front of a fan to further reduce their symptoms. Give them cool water to drink, and call your vet if their body temperature doesn’t go down to 103 degrees.

When you’re ready to adopt a Presa Canario, D&G Kennels is happy to help. Call us today to learn more about our available dogs, or to get more dog safety tips for summer.