Overheating can cause serious health problems for your pup, resulting in injury and even death. Unlike humans, who perspire all over to help regulate their body temperatures, sweating isn’t an effective cooling mechanism for dogs. While panting is the primary means for lowering his body temperature, your dog’s ears also play a part in the cooling process.
- Without sufficient shade, access to air conditioning or cool water, dogs can quickly become overheated when left locked in the car. Even if the temperature outside isn’t very hot and the windows are cracked open, the temperature inside a car can quickly shoot to dangerous levels. Exercising in the middle of the day when the sun is at its hottest, or, in the case of an elderly or out-of-shape dog, even when the sun has gone down, can also cause overheating.
- Like human beings, who sweat all over to help keep the body cool, dogs sweat too. Although they perspire from head to toe, dog sweat is more to enhance his personal odor rather than to cool him down. Sweat doesn’t evaporate from the surface of a dog’s skin to help keep him cool, not only because a dog is covered in fur, but because the majority of the sweat glands on a dog are located on his paws.
Ear Cooling Ability
- Dogs, like many other animals, use their often oversized ears not just for listening, but also as built-in air conditioners. When they get too hot, the blood vessels in a dog’s ears dilate, bringing the blood close to the skin’s surface where it can cool, helping to lower the dog’s body temperature. This is most effective for dogs who are overheated from exercise rather than hot temperatures.
Warm Weather Dangers
- Even with large ears to help cool her blood, warm weather can be too much for your pup to handle, putting her at risk for heat stroke if her body temperature goes higher than 109 degrees Fahrenheit. Warning signs that her body temperature is nearing a dangerous level or that dehydration is setting in include panting and drooling as well as muscle tremors, weakness and even losing consciousness. Seek immediate veterinary care if your dog shows signs of heat stroke.