7 Telltale Signs of Heat Exhaustion in Dogs

Enjoying the sunshine with your dog is one of the best ways to spend time together. You are sharing quality bonding time, releasing endorphins during activities, and receiving vitamin D from the sun—all great things for you and your dog!

However, exposure to high temperatures for a long period may cause heat exhaustion in dogs. Excessive heat can also lead to dehydration, fatigue, heatstroke, or more serious health problems—especially without access to water and shade.

Is It Safe for Dogs to Be Outside on Hot Days?

How often you walk your dog or take part in other outdoor activities should depend on the weather, duration of the activity, and your dog’s breed. Be mindful that even hanging out in 80 degrees Fahrenheit for an extended amount of time may be too hot for some dogs.

To best prepare for a day in the sun, learn about these common signs of heat exhaustion in dogs.

Most dogs love spending time in the great outdoors, so of course your furry friend would love camping with you! Such an excursion requires plenty of research and preparation, but it’s well worth it to watch your dog wag their tail in excitement throughout your journey. 

#1: Excessive Panting

A dog’s main response to heat exposure is panting. This regulates their body temperature and releases moisture from their tongue, nasal passage, and lungs. While panting is completely normal, excessive panting may indicate heat exhaustion. Get your dog out of the sun and give them plenty of water if they're panting rapidly.

#2: Rapid Heart Rate

Although a rapid heart rate is a natural response after loads of physical activity—especially in the heat—it can also be a sign of heat exhaustion in dogs. If your dog sustains a rapid heart rate long after playtime is over, monitor them closely for other signs of heat exhaustion.

#3: Drooling

Although drooling may be common among certain breeds, it may be a sign of heat exhaustion in dogs. When affected by heat, a dog’s tongue swells and allows more heat to be released, according to K&H Pet. Although drool might not be the most pleasant sight, it's a natural side effect of this process.

RELATED: Keeping Your Dog Safe in the Summer Heat

#4: Dry Nose

If your dog’s nose is dry, it could mean they are dehydrated. Simply give them cool water to drink and monitor their behavior.

dog panting and laying in shade

#5: Fatigue

A quiet, lethargic dog who has been outside for an extended amount of time may be experiencing heat exhaustion. A notable sign of dog heat exhaustion is if they are staggering or have been lying down in the same position and can’t get up.


Some steps to take include:

  • Provide shade above where your dog lies
  • Spray their body with a hose
  • Put cool compresses on them
  • Fan their body
  • Give them water


If using a hose or compress for relief, make sure it is cool water; ice-cold water on warm skin can tighten blood vessels and slow down the cooling process.

#6: Discolored Gums

Your dog’s gums can change color when they become overheated. Typically, gums are salmon or light pink in color. But once heat starts to affect them, your dog’s gums can appear red—or even turn pale during excessive heat exhaustion, according to Oklahoma State University. Gums may also become bruised, dry, or sticky.

#7: Vomiting

Pups can vomit for many reasons including illness, car sickness, and eating foods or plants toxic to dogs. It can also be a sign of dog heat exhaustion. If your dog has been under the hot sun and gets sick, it’s recommended to take them inside, provide hydration, and place them in front of a fan with cool compresses on their body.

If you notice any signs of heat exhaustion in your furry friend, consult your veterinarian for further information.

Once your dog is feeling better, give them a long-lasting chew such as beef hide. Indulging their innate urge to chew can help reduce any residual stress or discomfort.

Beat the Heat!

A rule of thumb is if it's too hot for you, it's probably too hot for your dog. Still, some dogs cannot handle extreme weather conditions as well as others. By being mindful of heat exhaustion in dogs, you are putting your best pet parenting practices to work!

Going for a swim or giving your dog frozen treats can also be great remedies for a hot day spent outdoors.

Want to spend some quality outdoor time when temperatures are a little cooler? Read our tips for walking your dog at night!


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