Signs and symptoms of heat stress in dogs


Signs and symptoms of heat stress in dogs

Dogs don’t sweat like us humans, instead they release heat by panting and also by sweating through their paw pads and nose. If they are unable cool themselves enough their internal body temperature begins to rise. Hyperthermia is the term used to describe this elevation in body temperature.

There are two commonly associated signs and symptoms of heat stress in dogs. These include:


i. Increased thirst

ii. Increased panting

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If your dog is unable to regulate their body temperature, their heat stress may progress to heat exhaustion. Signs of heat exhaustion include:

  •  Heavy panting
  •  Weakness and episodes of collapsing

If treatment isn’t given during heat exhaustion, it is extremely likely it will progress to heat stroke, the most severe case of heat illnesses. Signs and symptoms of heat stroke include:

  • Change in gum colour (bright red or pale)
  • Drooling
  • Dizziness or disorientation
  • Dullness and collapse
  • Increased heart rate and respiratory rate
  • Vomiting and/or diarrhoea
  • Muscle tremors
  • Seizure

Read also: How to start a dig breeding business

What to do if your dog has heat stress

If you believe your dog may be experiencing heat stress follow these steps:

Move your dog to a shaded spot, or even to an air conditioned room

Offer fresh, cool water

Stop all physical activities until their symptoms have resolved

Should your dog’s symptoms worsen, or you think your dog is suffering from heat stroke, you must take immediate action. Steps to take include:

Begin cooling your dog by wetting down their body with a hose or bucket, but avoid the face

A fan blowing over their damp skin will assist in cooling them down

See a vet immediately

It is not advised to place wet towels over the body as it will trap the heat that is trying to escape.

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