Signs of Heat Exhaustion in Dogs and How to Cool Them Down
I have a dog that loves winter. She’s a Samoyed, and her big, fluffy white coat is a blessing in cold weather and a curse in hot weather. Figuring out when she should come home during the warmer months can be tricky, as she wants to stay outside as long as possible.
Fortunately, we can prevent heat exhaustion in dogs and keep them healthy by learning the signs, knowing which breeds are most susceptible, and using tools to cool our puppies down.
Dogs more susceptible to heatstroke
As the American Kennel Club (AKC) points out, these factors can make your dog more likely to suffer from heat exhaustion:
- Your dog is a short-nosed (brachycephalic) breed, such as a Bulldog, Pug, Boston Terrier, Shih Tzu, Boxer, or Cavalier King Charles Spaniel. A short nose and flat face make it much more difficult for a dog to pant effectively and get rid of heat.
- Fur. A puppy is more likely to overheat with a heavy coat.
- Obesity. If your dog is overweight, he will overheat faster.
- Exercise. If your dog sprints or runs, don’t leave him outside for too long in the summer.
Also consider temperature and humidity. If you feel overheated or sticky from the humidity, your pup is probably feeling it even more.
7 Signs of Heat Exhaustion in Dogs
From experience, I know my Samoyed will overheat if he slows down, seems less alert, and drops his tail. But there’s more to know, according to the AKC. Keep these symptoms in mind if you’re on the lookout for heat exhaustion (and move your pet to a cool space as soon as possible):
- Panting. A very rapid, heavy panting is a sign that your dog can’t get rid of his heat fast enough.
- Hypersalivation (drooling).
- Warm to the touch.
- Red mucous membranes around the mouth.
- Rapid heartbeat.
- Dry nose.
- Quiet or unresponsive. Your pet may lie down and have difficulty sitting up.
More serious signs include:
- Blood from the mouth or in the stool.
- Muscle tremors.
- Ataxia (staggering).
Call your veterinarian immediately if your dog exhibits one or more of these symptoms.
How to Cool Your Dog
The veterinary team at Veterinarians.org has compiled a list of eight different ways to cool your dog:
- Create a cool space. If you are indoors, get a fan or air conditioner. If you are outdoors, find a shady spot with cool soil.
- Hydrate. When you and your dog are out in the heat, keep clean, cold water handy.
- Pat your dog’s body with a cold, soaked towel. If your dog hates water (or has a lot of fur), just pat the paws and paws.
- Install misters on your garden hose. The use of an atomizer is softer.
- Build a dog pool. Let your dog wade through the water at his own pace.
- Add ice to the bowl of water.
- Make puppies. Cool your pup from the inside out with dog-friendly popsicles.
- Buy a cooling mat. These mats have a special cooling gel that absorbs heat and keeps your dogs cool and comfortable. The one I bought – the K&H Cooling Dog Bed (Buy on Amazon, $63.69 for a large) – took a while to set up because it’s basically a water bed and requires a lot of maintenance. ‘water. However, it has held up for over a year and is still cool to the touch.
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