Dogs are susceptible to overheating especially in the summer months


Dog Overheating Symptoms, Dangers & Treatment

By Odie Blog Editors on June 28, 2023

As dog owners, we take great pride in the well-being of our pets. However, summer months can threaten their health as dogs are susceptible to overheating. This can be a concerning problem that may result in heat exhaustion or heat stroke if left unchecked. 

This comprehensive guide will explore symptoms, dangers, and treatment options available for dogs experiencing overheating and how you can take proactive measures against this threat to ensure their well-being throughout the upcoming season. 

Why do Dogs Overheat?

Dogs are more prone to overheating than people are since they have limited numbers of sweat glands in their paw pads to cool themselves. When temperatures rise or they’re engaging in more physical activity than they can keep up with, their bodies struggle to distribute the heat, resulting in overheating. 

You may notice that your dog pants a lot when they get hot. This is because they rely heavily on panting as their main method to cool off. 

Remember that a normal body temperature for your dog will be between 99.5 and 102.5 degrees Fahrenheit. Anything outside of this range can indicate overheating. You can measure your dog’s body temperature using a rectal thermometer for the most accurate reading. 

What Is Dog Heat Exhaustion (Overheating)?

Heat exhaustion in dogs, or hyperthermia, occurs when their body temperature exceeds the norm and cannot be brought down through panting alone. If this condition goes unchecked, it can become dangerous to their health. Heat exhaustion may even progress into heatstroke, causing the body’s internal systems to malfunction and shut down completely.

What Are the Signs of Dogs Overheating?

Dogs need access to plenty of water at home and on the go to stay hydrated.

Recognizing the signs of overheated dogs is crucial in protecting your pet from serious health risks. Understanding their symptoms will cue you in to immediately cool them off and avoid further complications. Here are some of the most common symptoms of dogs overheating: 

Dog Breeds that Overheat Easily

Breeds such as bulldogs are more prone to overheating because of their flat face and brachycephalic genes.
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Some dog breeds experience overheating more often than others. This particularly applies to flat-faced dog breeds that have brachycephalic genes. 

Some examples include: 

They lack airways that easily regulate body temperature effectively when compared to thick-coated breeds such as Huskies or Malamutes. For these types of dogs, regulating body temperature is difficult despite efforts at controlling body temperature effectively. If your pet is included in this group, extra care must be taken during hot weather to prevent overheating.

Additionally, dogs with a genetic predisposition to exercise-induced collapse (EIC) need to be careful about overheating. High temperatures can worsen EIC and may put your pet at higher risk for heatstroke. This includes retrievers and spaniels. 

How to Keep Your Dog from Heat Exhaustion (Overheating)?

Preventing dogs from overheating is key to their well-being. By following some of these tips, you can dramatically decrease the risk of heat-related illnesses in your pet:

How to Treat Dogs Overheating In an Emergency Situation?

If your dog seems to be experiencing heat exhaustion or heatstroke, immediate action must be taken to ensure its health and safety. Here’s what to do when your dog is in an overheating emergency:

When faced with an emergency overheating situation as a dog owner, having a reliable insurance policy, such as The Illness & Injury Plan from Odie, can give you peace of mind. It averages $45 per month for dogs and covers emergency vet visits, 24/7 televet chats, overnight hospital stays, and more to help you care for your pet during such a traumatic time. 

Is Overheating a Sign of Heart Problems?

Overheating may be a sign of heart problems in your dog, so it’s important to have them checked immediately when you notice the symptoms. When your dog’s heart is not functioning properly, they can overheat due to inadequate circulation and lack of oxygen in its organs. The Illness & Injury Plan provides comprehensive coverage for medical expenses related to heart conditions and overheating so your pet can get the necessary treatments. 

How Do I Know If My Dog Is Panting Too Much?

There are many reasons why dogs pant. Play close attention to symptoms that are not typical.

Pay Attention to Your Dog’s Behavior

We spend a lot of time with our dogs, so we know what they are “normally” like.  If extreme panting starts suddenly, won’t stop, or is accompanied by coughing or wheezing, you may want to take him to the vet. These vet visits are when Odie Pet Insurance can really come in handy.

Keep an Eye Out For Other Symptoms

As mentioned above, coughing or wheezing, especially when sleeping, is a cause for concern.  If your dog isn’t acting like themselves, such as being lethargic, not eating or eating less, being aggressive or too passive, bloating, and vomiting are other worrisome issues.  Take your dog to the vet A.S.A.P. if you suspect something is wrong. 

Take Notice of Any Alterations in Your Dog’s Panting Sounds

If your dog is wheezing, panting harder, or has soft breath sounds that are uncustomary to how they normally pant, you may want to take her to the vet.  Any difference at all in the way, sound, and time your dog pants are all red flags.

Odie’s Illness & Injury Plan

Odie’s Illness & Injury Plan can offer peace of mind and financial support during an overheating emergency by providing your furry friend with essential medical attention and treatment. Covering health concerns, including heat-related illnesses and priority medical attention, this plan will give you confidence that your pup’s healthcare needs are prioritized. Read more about Odie’s Illness & Injury Plan

Odie’s Accident-Only Plan

Odor’s Accident Only Plan covers things like x-rays, ultrasounds, lab tests, emergency care, and hospitalization. When you purchase this policy for your pet, you can sleep better at night knowing they can get the care they need in emergencies. Read more about The Accident Only Plan

Odie’s Wellness Plan

The Wellness Plan is an add-on available for purchase, along with an insurance policy from Odie. It allows you to proactively approach your pet’s health and well-being through routine pet care, from wellness exams to vaccinations. Read more about The Wellness Plan

You can also learn more on why your dog might be panting so much by clicking here.

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