Animals & Wildlife Magazine

Signs of Heat Exhaustion in Dogs-What to Do About It!

By Dogercise
over heated pug

Over heated Pug!

I took my dogs out for a walk later then usual today and noticed something significant-the heat!  Summer is here for S. California and many other places are experiencing it as well.  Without notice the weather decided to be very dry and 90 degrees.  After fifteen minutes I quickly noticed my pooches were feeling the heat!  The small ones went back inside after another ten minutes and I walked the big ones another 20.  We usually do some running, jumping and playing, but not today!

In my line of work it is important to know when a dog has had enough.  Especially because dogs tend to push themselves more then they should.  With summer deciding to come and soon stay a while, it’s important to know the signs of heat exhaustion so you don’t have to deal with heat stroke!  And what to do if it happens!

Know your dog and his/her limits. Some dogs are more tolerant to the sun then others.  For instance, one of my toy mixes can jog several miles with me with an overcast outside.  As soon as the sun comes out there is no jogging and only a small amount because she tires so fast.

Know your breed-many breeds are more likely to suffer from heat exhaustion so knowing your breeds tolerance level is important.  Dogs with respiratory problems and cardiovascular conditions are at more risk.  Does your dog have a short nose?  A bulldog, chow chow and pekingese are just a few of these breeds that are at greater risk due to their cute flat nose.

Dogs don’t sweat it out like we do.  Dogs only have glands on the pads of there feet and there nose, so they can’t effectively cool themselves down like we can.  They pant to cool off, but the more humidity there is, the harder it is for them to cool off.

What to look for:

  • Excessive drooling with very heavy panting
  • A flattened out, puffy tongue that hangs all the way out of his/her mouth
  • Dark red gums
  • Red or bluish tongue


  • Swaying while walking like he/she’s dizzy
  • Dog seems restless and weak
  • Dog lays down and won’t/can’t get up
  • Dog is vomiting and/or diarrhea
  • Shows signs of delirium
  • Temperature of 104 degrees F

What to do!

  • Get the dog out of the sun-pick him/her up if you have to
  • See if the dog will drink water
  • Soak the dog with a hose or in the tub with cool water
  • Place in front of a fan or have AC on in the car on the way to the vet
  • Place ice packs under the belly and head/neck
  • Get to a vet asap!

It is possible to get the dog too cold-so feel his skin/pay attention to his breathing.  If he starts to pant lightly and is breathing normally again, remove the icepacks immediately and still take him/her to the vet.

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