How To Recognize Signs Of Heat Exhaustion In Dogs

The warmest months in Hawaii are vastly upon us with temperatures reaching over 80F degrees and over 50 percent humidity.  Humans have the ability to regulate their body temperature by sweat glands located throughout our bodies.  When we sweat, the evaporation of our sweat cools our body. Unlike humans, dogs do not have 

sweat glands located throughout their body. A dog’s sweat glands are mainly located between the pads of their feet.  A dog’s primary way of cooling themselves is by panting and breathing.

Ways to beat the heat this summer:


  • Always provide shade and fresh cool water for your dogs.
  • Provide a small plastic pool for your dog to wade or lay in during the day.  Keep the pool in the shade so the sun does not heat the water. Remember to rinse the pool daily to keep clean.
  • You can find cooling products for dogs such as bandanas, vests, or sleeping pads.
  • Make a delicious, cool popsicle for your dog. Place treats in low sodium beef or chicken broth and freeze. To be more creative, freeze half the broth then place the treats in the container and pour more broth over the treats and freeze.
  • Exercise your dogs in the early morning or late afternoon when the sun is not as strong.
  • Water your dog down with a garden hose before exercise. The water evaporating will help cool your dog.
  • Regulate your dog’s play. Many dogs will not stop playing fetch or running because they are warm; it is up to you to give your dog a break with fresh cool water and shade.


Excessive play on a hot day or lack of water and shade can lead to dehydration, heat stroke or even heat exhaustion which can cause death.  A dog’s normal body temperature is 100.5F to 102.5F degrees.  A dog body temperature that is overheated will exceed 104F degrees or more!   

Recognize signs of heat exhaustion.

  • Sluggish or confused appearance
  • Excessive panting
  • Gums and tongue may appear dark or bright red
  • Gums and tongue may also be sticky or dry
  • Vomiting or diarrhea
  • Dog may collapse or have a seizure 

What to do if your dog is exhibiting signs of heat exhaustion.

  • Seek veterinary attention immediately!!
  • Find shade, give your dog cool water (not ice water as this will cause constriction of the blood vessels and hinder cooling)
  • Place cool wet cloths around their head and paws
  • Offer your dog ice cubes to lick (do not force your dog to drink water or eat ice cubes)

Did you know?

If the outside temperature is 90F degrees your car can reach up to 109F degrees in 10 minutes! 

The temperature of asphalt has many variables such as low humidity, direct sun, and other environmental conditions. However, in the worst case scenario with the air temperature at 86 degrees, asphalt can reach up to 135 degrees! You can fry an egg in 5 minutes at 131 degrees – – so please be aware of what your dog’s paws are touching when you take them on walks!