Dehydration & Overheating in Dogs

With summer Carolina days easily exceeding 90 degrees, and let’s not forget the humidity too, dehydration and overheating are two subjects that should always be on your mind. Regardless of activity level, when temperatures are this high, we are bound to feel the heat, literally. 

Not only does such weather cause humans to enter into unhealthy and unsafe dehydrated and overheated states, but it also causes the same effect in our pets. What’s worse is that our pets cannot verbally communicate to us how they are feeling, so it’s crucial that we pay attention to any possible warning signs in order to keep them as safe as possible during the southern summer months. 

Signs of Dehydration

  • Sunken eyes
  • Dry mouth, gums & nose
  • Poor skin elasticity*
  • Slow capillary refill time*

*To perform a skin elasticity test, gently pull up on the skin on your dog’s neck. For a hydrated dog, the skin will spring right back into place, however if your dog is dehydrated it will not.  

*To check your dog’s capillary refill time, press your finger on its gums until they turn white. Upon releasing your finger, if the gums do not immediately regain their color, your dog may be dehydrated. 

When left untreated, dehydration can lead to organ failure and even death. Depending on the severity, rehydrating your dog may take much more than simply providing them with an abundance of fresh water. This is why if dehydration is suspected, you should seek veterinary attention immediately. 

Signs of Overheating

  • Fast, noisy breathing
  • Disorientation
  • Collapsing or convulsing
  • Bright red or blue gums
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea 

Just as dehydration can become life-threatening when left untreated, so can becoming overheated. Contact your veterinarian ahead of time so that they are able to prepare for your dog’s arrival. Wet your dog with cold tap water before bringing it to the clinic as well. Working to cool your dog’s core body temperature right away is extremely important in treating cases of overheating.

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