8 Signs of Overheating in Dogs (And What You Can Do About It)

Summer is the perfect time for you and your dog to go out on quality outdoor adventures. However, hot temperatures can lead to overheating and exhaustion, so it’s important to be aware of how fun in the sun can affect your furry family members. To keep your dog as safe as possible in the summer heat, here are some tips on how to spot signs of overheating and what you can do as a pet parent to prevent it.

8 Signs of Heat Stress in Your Dog

Our four-legged friends don’t handle the heat like we do. Unlike us, dogs don’t sweat out excess body heat. Though dogs typically release heat by panting, this may not always be enough to cool down. As a result, your beloved pooch can quickly become overheated if not properly acclimated.

Fortunately, it’s not difficult to identify signs that your dog is overheating.

Excessive panting

Panting is a dog’s primary way of cooling down, but if your pup is panting more than usual, it could be a sign they’re too hot. Keep an eye out for heavy, constant panting that doesn’t seem to subside.

Excessive drooling

A little drool is normal, but excessive drooling can indicate an overheated dog. If your dog is leaving more slobber trails than usual, it’s time to take action.

Changes in gum color or tongue (bright or dark red)

Check your dog’s gums. If they’re bright red or unusually pale, it could be a sign of heat stress. Healthy gums should be a nice pink color.

Elevated body temperature

This one probably goes without saying, but if your furry friend feels noticeably warm, it’s time to get them to a cool place indoors.

Increased pulse and heartbeat

Feel your dog’s chest. If their heartbeat is rapid and irregular, it could be a sign your dog is overheating. Please make note, this is a serious symptom that requires immediate attention.

Excessive thirst

When dogs overheat, they lose a lot of moisture through panting and sweating through their paws. This can lead to dehydration, which makes them drink more water to replenish what they’ve lost.

Disorientation, stumbling, or weakness

If your dog seems confused, disoriented, or has trouble walking, they could be suffering from heatstroke. Disorientation is a clear signal that your dog needs to be cooled down right away.


Heat can upset your dog’s stomach, which can lead to vomiting. If your pup is experiencing these symptoms, it’s important to cool them down and closely monitor their condition to ensure it doesn’t get worse.

What to Do if Your Dog is Overheated

If you begin to recognize signs of overheating in your dog, you’ll want to take immediate action to cool them down.

  1. Get them indoors to a cool place, like an air-conditioned room or in front of a fan.
  2. Place cool, wet cloths or towels on their neck, armpits, or behind their hind legs. You can also gently wet their ears and paws with the cool water.
  3. If they are willing to drink, offer them cold water, but do not force them.

When to Call the Vet About Overheating

There is a lot you can do for an overheated dog, but if your dog shows severe symptoms like disorientation, rapid heartbeat, vomiting, or collapses, it’s crucial to contact your vet immediately. They can provide the professional care your pup needs. You may also want to call ahead so your vet can be prepared for your dog’s treatment.

How to Avoid Heat Exhaustion for Your Dog

As a pet parent, it’s important to take the right prevention steps to keep your dog protected from over-heating and understand how to respond if your dog should become stressed in hot temperatures. By using the following tips, you can help protect your dog from dangerous heat-related issues.

Limit outdoor activity on extremely hot or humid days

If you do take your pup on routine or long walks, you might want to stick to cooler hours of the day, such as early in the morning and later in the evening. Summer activities such as swimming or letting your dog run through the sprinkler can also be refreshing activities for highly active dogs that need to release more energy, even on a sweltering day.

Keep your best friend hydrated

If you plan on any type of activity outdoors, make sure you bring water with you and take frequent breaks to rehydrate.

Never leave your dog alone in the car in heated temperatures – ever.

Even if you have parked in a shaded area with the windows down, temperatures in your car can quickly rise much more quickly than you think. If you plan to do anything where your dog can’t come with you, it’s best to leave them at home.

Monitor your dog

If your dog lays in the sun or spends a little extra time outside, pay close attention to any signs they could be stressed. Prevention is the best cure for keeping your dog protected in the heat.

Staying aware of the signs your dog is overheated can go a long way to keeping your dog healthy and safe! To receive other pet safety tips for your pup, Sign Up for the Best Friends Club.

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