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How To Tell If Your Newfoundland Dog Is Overheating

We haven’t hit the first day of summer yet we’ve already set a few heat records here in Ohio.

The humidity has my hair in curls and the boys aren’t wanting to spend much time outside and I don’t blame them.

My hopes are that this isn’t the way summer is going to go this year because I would like to spend some time outside with the boys and not have to worry about them overheating.


I always pay close attention to my Newfies during this time of the year to make sure that they’re not overheating.

how to tell if your Newfoundland is overheating

Sometimes that can be hard because Newfies aren’t like the average dog.

They normally pant, drool and drink a lot of water which can give some Newfie owners a false sign that their dog is acting normally when in actuality, their dog may be showing signs of overheating and things are about to go bad really fast.

Knowing what your Newfie’s “normals” are can help you better gauge how they’re handling the heat this summer.

Common Signs That Your Dog Is Overheating

  • heavy breathing/panting
  • drinking more water
  • excessive drooling
  • red gums
  • swollen tongue
  • increased pulse and heart rate
  • elevated body temperature
  • glazed eyes
  • vomiting/diarrhea
  • staggering
  • seizures
  • unconscious

what to do when your dog is overheating

Heavy Breathing/Panting

Many Newfs pant when in the dead of winter when it’s 20 degrees outside so how can one tell if your Newfoundland is overheating by doing something they always do?

For me, I know my Newfie’s panting style.

It’s a steady pant.

When they are hot, dog panting increases and their mouths are wide open.

The hotter they get the less efficient the panting is.

Drinking More Water

Another symptom that can be tricky when you have a Newfoundland because most of them are ALWAYS dunking their head in their water bowl.

This will just take an observation.

I know how often I fill water bowls and I know about how much each dog drinks at a time.

If they drink a whole bowl of water and that is not normal for them then they might be getting overheated.

Excessive Drooling

What a second, drool is cool when it comes to Newfies, right?

Yes, but not when they’re overheating.

I think drool consistency is your key here.

Over the years, I’ve noticed that when my Newfies are hot or if they’re sick, their dog drool changes consistency.

It’s thicker and slimier. 

Bright Red Gums/Tongue

Mucous membranes should be pink and wet, if your dog’s gums are bright red and dry it can mean that they are overheating.

With humans, our faces get red and flush but with dogs, their gums can get bright red as their body tries to cool themselves.

To check your dog’s mucous membranes, simply lift up your dog’s lower lip and look at the gums above their teeth. 


Increased Pulse/Heart Rate

Blood volume and blood pressure are decreasing due to heavy panting.

The average pulse for a dog is 120-140 bpm.

 Normal heart rates can vary from dog to dog but an average heart rate in healthy, adult dogs is usually 60-160.

Learn how to check your dog’s heart rate and pulse.


Elevated Body Temperature

A dog’s normal temperature is between 100.5-102.5 degrees.

Of course, Newfies can run much warmer than that so if your dog has some of the symptoms above and has an elevated temperature above their average temperature, overheating may be happening.

big dog overheating after a walk

It’s a good thing to know your dog’s resting temperature so you have a number to go off of.

Sherman and now Lou have high resting body temperatures so that’s important for me to know. 

Glazed Eyes

Your dog’s eyes should normally be bright and alert but when they are experiencing heat stroke the eyes will often look glazed or shiny.

Observe your dog for a few minutes and see if you can see any change in their eyes and if they’re alert and responsive to movement. 

how to cool down a hot dog


Vomiting/Lose Bowels

Your dog’s body is working overtime to cool down and they are struggling which can lead to GI upset.

The cells that line the GI tract are injured. 

The vomit or stool may contain blood.


The heat is damaging their brain.

Your dog is getting confused and losing control.

how to tell if your dog is overheating


Your dog needs immediate help and should be seen by a veterinarian.


Your dog is no longer in control of their body and their organs may be at risk for damage.

They should be seen by a veterinarian.


Organ damage may be happening because the dog’s body is shutting down.

They are at great risk.

The dog needs to be in veterinarian care immediately.


how to cool down a dog that is hot

Tips On How Cool Down An Overheated Dog

If you need to cool your dog down because you think they are overheating, it’s always best to contact your veterinarian first but if that’s not an option a few things you can do are:

  • Remove them from the heat
  • Cool them down with cool water (not cold) from a hose.
  • Rub some ice cubes on their gums and offer them small amounts of cool water if they are able to drink but don’t force them to drink.
  • Apply cool packs to the groin area and wipe the paw pads with cool water.
  • Use a floor fan if you have access to one.
  • Keep checking their internal temperature every 5 minutes until it comes down to their normal range.
  • Do not wrap them in cold, wet towels at this can trap the heat, instead wipe them with cool, wet towels.
  • Contact your veterinarian.

It’s recommended to cool an overheated dog down slow and steady.

If you do it too fast this could potentially lead to shock.

Keep in my mind that your dog is most likely panicking because they know something isn’t right. 

Try to stay calm and reassure your dog.

Don’t force them to drink water and don’t yell at them. 

While some dogs may recover fine from overheating, you’ll want to make sure that you speak with your veterinarian to see if they would like to run any additional tests since hyperthermia complications can happen hours or even days later.

For instance, your vet may want to check for kidney damage or administer fluids.

How Long Does It Take For a Dog To Cool Down?

If you know what you’re doing and you’re prepared, it can take 5-10 minutes for a dog to start cooling down.

Remember, it’s best for a dog’s body temperature to drop slowly not quickly so if that’s an option, go that route.


how to tell if your Newfoundland is overheating


How To Avoid Overheating Your Dog

  • Don’t leave your Newfoundland out for an extended amount of time in heat and humidity.
  • Keep walks short and early in the morning or at dusk
  • Don’t ever leave them in a hot car.
  • Avoid exercise in the middle of the day.
  • Make sure they have adequate shade and fresh water outside at all times.
  • Keep them well-groomed.
  • Have cooling products readily available for them during the summer. 

Always keep in mind that your Newfoundland is a cold-weather breed.

They weren’t made for hot weather and while some may do better in the heat than others, there’s no reason to risk taking a Newfoundland out for a hike on a 90-degree day.

Dogs have a higher body temperature than humans and aren’t able to cool down as fast as us.

We have sweat glands all over but dogs only have sweat glands on their nose a paw pads.

Dogs can suffer major damage in a short amount of time to their brain, liver, kidneys and nervous symptom due to overheating.

Related Articles:

How Hot Is Too Hot For Your Newfoundland?

Are Pet Cooling Pads Worth Your Money?

how to tell if your dog is too hot

**Disclosure-My Brown Newfies always advises speaking with your veterinarian about any health issues and any suggestions in this post does not replace veterinarian advice. 





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Thursday 20th of June 2019

Thank you so much for posting this...woke up today at 5am to my panting newfie girl, Freya. She was drooling more than usual for her and just weak and becoming a little listless. I used your suggestions on cooling her down and already she's no longer panting and resting by the box fan. Now I'm just sipping my coffee with my girl and waiting until the vet office opens to follow-up. Again, many thanks!

My Golden Life

Sunday 10th of June 2018

Great tips, Jen! Although Shadow and Ducky aren't Newfies, they could easily overheat during the summer if I don't keep an eye on them. Especially my little sun worshipper, Ducky. My gauge for them is my own comfort level. I hate the heat and humidity, so if it's too miserable for me, it's worse for them.


Thursday 7th of June 2018

Thank you very much for these tips! It's so important to know the signs of a overheating dog. My Happy hasn't been with me too long and it's our first summer together, so your article is really helpful!


Thursday 7th of June 2018

You're welcome! Hoping you won't have to need them but it sometimes is hard to tell when a Newf is overheating because they do a lot of the things normally! I love the name Happy!

Tails Around the Ranch

Monday 4th of June 2018

Those are some terrific tips in determining if your pet is overheating. Thanks for sharing the Newfie view which may apply to many other breeds!


Thursday 7th of June 2018

Yep! I think it does apply to many other breeds! Thanks Monika!

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