Hot, Hot, Hot… Too Hot — Exhausted

02 Jul Hot, Hot, Hot… Too Hot — Exhausted

What Is Heat Exhaustion?

Heat exhaustion, also called hyperthermia, occurs when your pet’s body temperature rises above a healthy range and they are unable to regulate their own body heat. This condition ranges from mild heat exhaustion, which can be treated at home, to severe heatstroke, at which point your pet can lose consciousness, run a high fever, or even experience organ failure.

Because dogs primarily pant rather than sweat, they are much more sensitive to heat than humans are. Luckily, heat exhaustion is easily preventable—even in the dog days of summer.


Animals are at particular risk for heatstroke if they are very old, very young, overweight, not conditioned to prolonged exercise, or have heart or respiratory disease. Breeds that are long haired and brachycephalic (short nosed) breed are more likely to be at risk.

Watch for signs of heatstroke

Some signs of heatstroke are:

  • Heavy panting
  • Glazed eyes
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Excessive thirst
  • Lethargy
  • Fever
  • Dizziness
  • Lack of coordination
  • Profuse salivation
  • Vomiting
  • A deep red or purple tongue
  • Seizure and unconsciousness

How to treat a pet suffering from heatstroke

Move your pet into the shade or an air-conditioned area. Apply ice packs or cold towels to their head, neck and chest or run cool (not cold) water over them. Let them drink small amounts of cool water or lick ice cubes. However, cooling too quickly can actually be just as dangerous as heat exhaustion. For very small dogs or puppies, use lukewarm water instead of cool.

Of course, if the symptoms do not improve quickly and you are unable to take your dog’s temperature take your dog to your veterinarian immediately.


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