Just about every dog on the planet loves playing around outside underneath the summer sun! Unlike people, though, they do not often know when to quit even when they start to feel less than stellar. This is dangerous because it can lead to overheating. When a dog overheats, more serious problems are soon to follow.
To avoid catastrophe while still allowing man’s best friend to frolic and play, learn the signs of overheating in a dog and how to fix the issue before it becomes much more life-threatening.
Dogs pant in order to cool themselves down. Humans sweat, dogs pant! This is usually a pretty common thing that dogs do even when they are just slightly too warm in temperature, but excessive panting with no relief can be a sign that things have been taken to the next level. Of course, you should check for this happening along with a number of other signs because panting can happen due to overexertion or an array of medical conditions as well.
Disorientation in a dog is one of the easier signs of overheating to spot. If you notice any of these things happening to your pup, it’s time to step in and do something:
- Falling down
- Walking in circles
- Head is tilting to one side or the other
- Eyes are darting back and forth
- Unable to stand
- Walking shakily
Disorientation can become more severe over time and have serious health consequences. No matter how mild you think the condition is, you should treat your pup before moving on with your day.
#3: Bright red or blue gums
Another sign of a dog overheating in hot weather is brightly colored gums. It may look funny, sure, but the underlying cause is anything but. The gums turn blue because of a lack of oxygen, and everyone knows that proper oxygen levels allow us to live to breathe another day! This is a more serious sign that the hot temperature is beating your poor pup to a pulp.
Dogs may collapse for several reasons, and none of them are good. This can be due to overheating, allergic reactions, and other medical conditions. Paired with any of these other signs, though, it is clear that Spot got a little too much sun. If it gets this severe, you must take your pup to the nearest animal hospital, stat.
The most common symptoms of sickness or other health-related issues due to overheating in dogs are vomiting and diarrhea. This can be more severe when it comes to a situation in which your dog may be overheated because both cause the body to lose water. Dehydration only makes the situation much worse.
If this occurs and you do not replenish his body’s water supply, heat exhaustion can quickly turn into heat stroke, a severe condition that may negatively impact your pup’s health forever.
What You Can Do to Fix It Quick
If your dog overheats while running around outside, it will not be the end of the world as long as you intervene in the early stages. Plenty of little quick fixes will ensure that Rover stays on his feet! Here are some of the easiest and fastest ways to keep your fur baby from harm in this situation.
Keep Him Hydrated
Always, always keep plenty of water on hand when taking your pup out to play! Dehydration makes him more susceptible to overheating, heat exhaustion, and heat stroke. Dogs should be offered water once at least every hour, more often depending on how hot it is and how strenuous the activity they are performing is.
Some pet owners, however, don’t exactly know how to tell whether or not their pups are dehydrated. Below are some signs you should watch out for in your dog:
- Sunken eyes
- Dry mouth
- Poor skin elasticity
If that still would not tell you what you need to know, there are a couple of tests you can perform to gauge how hydrated your dog is.
- To test skin elasticity, gently pinch the skin on the back of your dog’s neck. If it snaps back immediately, he is perfectly hydrated. If it takes longer to bounce back, he may be a little dehydrated. The longer it takes, the more severe the dehydration is.
- Do the capillary refill time test. Press your finger against your dog’s gums until the spot turns white. Count how long it takes until the color fully returns to that spot. Again, the longer it takes, the more dehydrated your dog likely is.
If your dog needs a little drink, let him have one! For an extra refreshing sip, place ice cubes in his water bowl with the fresh water.
Give Him a Little Shade
It makes sense that to avoid overheating from the sun, you should take your dog out of the sun first. When you notice that Spot may be feeling a little too dizzy or fatigued, lead him to a shady place you have set up wherever the two of you are. Add a bowl of drinking water in the shade to ensure your dog’s health is top priority in those high temperatures. This shade could be simply a tarp tied between two trees with room to rest under or a tent! Whatever will block the sun’s rays from touching him works. Remember, your dog’s paw pads will need to be kept cool as well. They can easily be burned on hot gravel. So aid the cooling process by having your dog cool on some old towels in a shaded area.
Fill Up a Kiddie Pool
Some dogs just refuse to come lie down; they want to keep playing no matter how hot it is! If it is safe to do so, let him keep playing in a kiddie pool full of water and maybe a little bit of ice. This will cool down his skin and hydrate him (because you know he will drink at least a little bit of it.) This way is a compromise for you both–you can feel calm knowing that your furry pal is chilling out while he does not have to be bored!
Take Him Inside
Sometimes, it’s too hot outside even in the shade. If taking your pup to his special shady spot did not help him in cooling down, take him inside altogether. You probably have air conditioning and/or fans in your house. You might even have tile that Fido could lie down on! Wherever you are, it is likely that your house will be better equipped to help him out than a tent in the heat.
No matter what you end up doing, just be sure that the problem is actually solved before going outside again. Here’s to hoping for a great and stress-free summer for both you and your pup!