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Signs of a Dog Overheating and How to Fix It

dog overheated outside on grass

Summer is the time of year when all of us like to get out and enjoy the fresh air. Especially for those of us who live in climates where it’s cold in the winter, spring and/or fall, summer is a big opportunity to experience nature in relative comfort. The same holds true for our dogs, or at least that’s what many of us who own them think. They’re just as exuberant about waking up to a warm, sunny day as we are, and they’re just as excited about spending a day outside as any of us.

This time of year, it’s common to load up a backpack with some snacks, some water, and some other useful items that we’re going to need while we’re in the sun, to grab our furry friend and to head out right away in the morning to attack that sunny day. However, these are also the days that get warmer and warmer, and at some point, that sun actually becomes a threat. Not to us, necessarily, as we know how to deal with the heat and the sunlight and how we’re feeling, but to our dogs. Too many dogs every year suffer dire and sometimes tragic consequences due to overheating. KONG has been working with dog owners for 50 years, and below we’d like to offer you some information regarding signs of a dog overheating and how to fix it. The good news is that if you recognize the problem early, you can handle it relatively quickly.

Dogs Don’t Self-Regulate

Humans and dogs have a lot in common, but they are also different in many important ways. For instance, when we start to feel a bit beaten down by the sun and the heat, we’re naturally going to find some shade, drink some water, slow our heart rates down if we’re exercising, and cool off. If we’re really feeling the effects of the heat, then we’re going to call it a day and seek a cool place. Dogs are not necessarily going to do that. They’re going to keep churning and moving, sometimes well beyond the point when they should. While this is not one of the outward signs of a dog overheating, it is important to understand that they’re not going to tell you when it’s time to stop.


Most of us understand that dogs are going to pant when they’re hot, but they do so for other reasons as well. Therefore, simply panting may not be enough of a warning sign that a dog is overheating. However, dogs pant instead of sweat, so if your friend is panting excessively and can’t seem to slow it down and he or she is showing other troubling signs of being too hot, you should definitely take this into account and start thinking about helping your friend cool off.

Disoriented and Confused Behavior

You know your dog better than anyone. You’ll almost immediately understand if he or she is acting out of sorts. Examples of signs of an overheating dog that you should respond to immediately include walking around in circles, tilting its head to one side or the other, darting eyes, falling down, seemingly not recognizing you, vomiting and stumbling. Every dog is a bit different, but any acts like these indicate an immediate and serious problem, and you need to react with urgency.

Gum Discoloration

Not all signs of an overheating dog are overtly obvious like those mentioned above. If you think it’s warm and you’re not sure if your dog is handling it as well as possible, you need to keep a close eye on him, obviously. You should check for more subtle signs like a change in color in its gums. If your dog’s gums are suddenly blue or a very bright red, that’s another potentially serious problem that you need to respond to immediately.

How To Deal With an Overheating Dog

Of course, understanding signs of an overheating dog is only so helpful until you have some ideas on how to fix it. You’ll find a few suggestions below:


One of the first things you should do if you see signs of an overheating dog is to give it water and let it hydrate. The introduction of liquid into the dog’s system can help cool it down and perhaps calm it down, as it will need to gather its breath to an extent in order to be able to drink water in the first place.

Put the Dog In Water

Another idea for what you should do when you see signs of an overheating dog is to help bring its core temperature down by way of water. We’re not talking about drinking water, but instead, you should consider putting him or her in a kiddie pool of some sort so that your friend’s entire body can be submerged in water. This will help cool him or her off quickly.

Find Shade

This should come as a bit of a no-brainer, but in most cases, you’ll see signs of an overheating dog when you’re out in the sun. If that’s the case, make sure you give it water or put it in a pool of water in the shade, as that can make a big difference in terms of the air temperature.

Bring Them Inside

If you have access to a home, apartment, or car that has air conditioning, bring your friend inside and turn that air conditioning on if it isn’t already. That will provide some relief for your friend and allow him or her to breathe easier.

See a Vet

Finally, if your dog continues to show signs of overheating and you become increasingly concerned, take it to an emergency veterinarian for an immediate evaluation. It’s better to be safe than sorry in these situations. You can always reach out the 24/7 vets in your KONG Club app for assessment, advice and tips to help your pet

Overall, fun in the summer warmth is hard to beat, whether you’re a human or a dog. However, keep in mind that dogs can and do overheat somewhat easily, and be watchful for any signs of overheating. If you’re concerned about the heat before you leave on your adventure or while you’re out on it, don’t worry about cutting it short or even cutting it out altogether. That’s better than being caught too far from home or without supplies and realizing that your dog is in serious distress.

KONG Club hopes that every dog and owner enjoys the summer to the fullest. If you’d like to give your friend some entertainment on those days when it’s too warm to venture outside, subscribe to KONG Club, click HERE.