Signs of Pet Heat Exhaustion and Ways to Avoid

Dog drinking water from water bottle on hot day

I wait for summer the whole year. My furry friend Franky and I live the summer like this is the last summer we are going to have. Summer means long days of entertainment and fun, but high temperatures always feel like our enemy to stop us from enjoying the season. One time, Franky got numb, started panting and lost his consciousness. I immediately took Franky to a vet and described the whole situation. He educated me about the condition and advised me how to avoid such situations in the summer. Now I enjoy my summer with Franky without any disturbance, and I want you, too, to have an amazing time with your furry friends. My article will educate you about heat exhaustion and its prevention tips.

Sit back! And start your summer with the following precautions.

Heat Exhaustion

Heat exhaustion is simply an increase in the body temperature, which is called hyperthermia in medical terms. Excessive heat leads to the increase in body temperature. Normally, the body can manage increasing body temperature, but excessive heat can be difficult to manage. In hyperthermia, the body is unable to regain its normal body temperature, and can lead to serious complications.

Heat exhaustion can be mild to severe. You can treat mild heat exhaustion at home but its severe form, heatstroke, leads to unconsciousness, high fever and even organ failure. Therefore, it is important to take recommended steps in summer to prevent your pup from heat exhaustion. Dogs pant to decrease the body temperature in summer. But sometimes it's hard for them to keep up with hot day temperature plus their own body heat they create when playing outside. Therefore, it becomes difficult for them to survive in summer heat.

Signs of Heat Exhaustion

There are obvious signs that you can observe in your dog, which tells you about heat exhaustion.

-Panting -Pulse

-Dehydration -Tremors

-Excessive drooling -Weight loss

-Fever -Vomiting/diarrhea

-Gum discoloration -Dizziness


Dog panting after a walk


It's normal for dogs to pant after exercise or when their temperature rises above normal. Usually, they can control their temperature by doing this. But, when it becomes excessive, it can be a sign of heat exhaustion. You should monitor your dog when outside and the temperature becomes uncomfortable for you or your pup.


Dehydration is also the obvious sign that will lead your dog toward heat exhaustion. Your dog will behave lethargically when he is dehydrated. Dogs skin coat is an indication of dehydration. If you pinch the skin, lift it upwards, and it comes back to its original position in less than 3 seconds, then your dog is normal. If the skin does not come back in less than 3 seconds, then your dog is dehydrated. Your furry friend's nose will also be dry, and you will observe excessive panting. These are the obvious signs of dehydration. Always provide fresh, clean water for your pup!

Dog panting with excessive drool

Excessive drooling

When your dog is dehydrated, body secretions will be thicker. You can observe his drool to indicate possible heat exhaustion. You can tell the difference from normal every day drool your pup creates from the thick, seemingly slimy/sticky drool from his lack of water intake drool. The body will not have enough water to secrete watery, normal appearing drool.


Mostly in summer, when the outside temperature becomes the high, internal temperature of the body also rises. Because the body does not have the capacity to cope with such temperature extremes, dogs get fever in summer more frequently—Dog's temperature of more than 103 degrees is abnormal. Whenever you observe high body temperature, it is a sign of heat exhaustion and he may need medical attention.

Dog muzzle showing teeth

Gum discoloration

The color of gums can tell whether your dog is dehydrated or not. Normally gums are a bright red color with a thin mucus layer on them. If you find the gums dry and their color is different from normal, it can indicate dehydration and heat exhaustion. You can keep an eye on this color when your dog is panting.


Urination is another indication to find dehydration in your dog. You should be aware of your dog's normal urine color when he is healthy. If urine color changes, becomes concentrated, and your dog has difficulty urinating, your dog is dehydrated. Always provide fresh, clean water for your pup!

Labrador retriever standing in the grass panting

Pulse rate

Normally, bigger dogs have a higher pulse rate than small dogs. When under heat stress, the pulse rate increases; you can check the pulse rate at home. Higher pulse rate than normal means your pup is in stress. Place two fingers (not your thumb) on the depression found in your dog’s inner upper thigh, over the Femoral artery. Count the pulse for 15 seconds. Then, multiply by 4 to get the beats per minute. The normal pulse rate for small dogs will range between 90 and 160 beats per minute. Larger dogs will have a lower normal pulse rate, usually between 65 and 90 beats per minute.


If you find your dog shivering or shaking in summer, it is an obvious sign of heat stress, and your dog is suffering from heat exhaustion!

Sleeping dog in the bed

Weight loss

Heat stress for a long period will lead to a decrease in the weight of your dog. In addition, overheating will cause your dog to take more naps than normal and your dog will not be active as he should be.

Vomiting or diarrhea

Vomiting or diarrhea is common when your dog goes into heat stress. Abnormal stool, maybe with blood, is a big warning for you and your friend.


Lethargy, weight loss, decreased activity, and dizziness while walking are clear signs of warning for you and your dog. You must not ignore these signs and take immediate steps to solve the heat exhaustion issue.

There is a good deal about heat exhaustion that you can prevent easily.

Prevention of Heat Exhaustion

There are multiple ways to encounter heat exhaustion in summer. Following tips will tell you some encounters you can have in summer and the probable way to avoid heat exhaustion.

explanation on how to prevent heatstroke in dogs
Photo from Tacoma Park Police