We haven’t hit the first day of summer yet we’ve already set a few heat records here in Ohio.
The humdity 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 Sherman and Leroy during this time of the year to make sure that they’re not overheating but 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.
Here’s a few ways that might help you detemine if your Newfoundland is overheating in the summer:
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 Sherman and Leroy’s regular pant. It’s a steady pant. When they are hot, panting increases and their mouths are wide open. The hotter they get the less efficient the panting is.
Drinking More. 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 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 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. When Sherman and Leroy are hot it seems like their drool is thicker and more slimy than usual.
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 itself.
Increased Pulse/Heart Rate. Blood volume and blood pressure is decreasing due to heavy panting. An average pulse for a dog is 120-140 bpm. Normal heart rates can vary from dog to dog but and 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. Sherman has read as high as a healthy 104 degrees at the vet but his average is around 101 degrees. He runs high because his body temperature has always been higher.
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.
Vomiting/Loose 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.
Staggering. The heat is damaging their brain. Your dog is getting confused and losing control.
Collapse. Your dog needs immediate help and should be seen by a veterinarian.
Seizure. 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.
Unconsciousness. 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 your Newfoundland down is you suspect they are overheating.
- I always recommend seeking veterinarian advice first but if that’s not an option you can follow these cooling techniques
- The key is not to cool your dog down too fast because this can cause the body to go into shock.
- 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.
- Apply cool packs to the groin area and wipe the paws 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 the cool, wet towels.
- Contact your veterinarian.
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 to avoid overheating.
- 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 time.
- Keep them well-groomed.
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 that 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, kindeys and nervous symptom due to overheating.
**Disclosure-My Brown Newfies always advises to speak with your veterinarian about any health issues and any suggestions in this post does not replace veterinarian advice.