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How to Tell if Your Dog Is Overheating or Dehydrated

Don't let these signs go unnoticed.

It seems like we’re starting to hit the peak of the summer’s blistering heat. So if you’re used to taking your furry companions out for a walk or for some playtime in the park, now is the time to take extra precautions to make sure they are safe.

Dogs can easily overheat and become dehydrated, which poses dangerous risks for their health. Dehydration happens when your pup loses too many fluids and electrolytes relative to how much water they are drinking — it can happen from excessive sweating.

Overheating is when your dogs internal body temperature rises too high, and it can cause life-threatening complications like heat exhaustion, heat stroke, or sudden death from a cardiac arrhythmia.

Luckily, you can spot the signs that your dog is becoming dehydrated or overheated by simply paying attention to a few habits.

According to the American Kennel Club Canine Health Foundation, you can tell your pup is overheating if you notice:

  • Increased panting
  • Disorientation (unstable movements, wobbling)
  • More noisy, fast breathing.
  • Collapsing or convulsing
  • Blue or bright red gums
  • Vomiting or diarrhea

The AKCCHF says if you see these signs, your dog could be dehydrated:

  • Sunken eyes
  • Dry mouth, gums, and nose.
  • Poor skin elasticity. Try gently pulling on the skin on the back of your dog’s neck. If it doesn’t immediately spring back to normal, this could indicate dehydration. The longer it takes for the skin to go back to normal, the more severely dehydrated your pup may be.
  • If you press your finger into your dogs gums, they will turn white. Once you remove your finger, it should quickly turn red/pink again. If the area stays white for an extended time, this could indicate dehydration.

If you suspect your dog is overheating, apply cool water on them before heading to the vet to seek medical attention. If you suspect they are dehydrated, try to give them some water and again, head to the vet for medical attention.

To prevent dehydration, encourage your dog to drink water at least once every hour if they are active. To prevent overheating, encourage your dog to rest, especially when the weather is hot, and also to drink water often to replenish lost fluids.

Here’s to a fun — and safe — summer for you and your furry companion!

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