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Recognizing the Signs of Heatstroke in Your Chihuahua

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Chihuahuas sunning themselves on a beach

Hey, dog lovers – it’s hot, hot, hot! Summer is a fantastic time of year to head outdoors with your four-pawed pal, and although our pint-sized family members are usually game for some fun in the sun, it’s important to remember that Chihuahuas, like any dog breed, can easily overheat in warm or extremely humid weather.

Let’s take a look at how to recognize overheating when it happens to your pooch, what to do to help, and finally, when it’s time to head to the vet.

In warmer weather, even simple activities like a walk in the park or a car ride can quickly become dangerous for your pup. The sun shining directly on your Chihuahua can increase their body temperature quickly, especially if they’re exercising, and it’s much harder for dogs to release body heat – they can only cool themselves through panting or sweating from their paw pads.

In extreme heat conditions, our friends can progress from being simply overheated to developing heatstroke faster than we might think, so it’s vital for us to be able to recognize the first signs of overheating.

Signs that your Chihuahua is getting too hot:

  • An increased rate of panting
  • Big tongue’ syndrome – your Chi’s tongue seems abnormally long or wide
  • Their body feels hot to the touch
  • Lots of drooling
  • They seem excessively thirsty

At this point, your Chi needs a break immediately, some shade or (even better) air conditioning, a drink of cool water, and a rest for a few hours while you keep an eye on them.

Signs of heat exhaustion/heat stroke are:

  • Heavy breathing or having trouble breathing
  • Vomiting
  • Weakness, stumbling, or collapse
  • Seizures
  • Body temperature above 104 degrees
  • Dark red tongue or gums
  • Loss of Consciousness

If your Chihuahua is showing any of these signs, they need help right away, so head to your veterinarian or the nearest pet emergency clinic! Offer them cool (not cold) water to drink if they can swallow, and place cold moist towels or washcloths on their belly, armpits, groin and neck area to cool them down. If you have a thermometer in your pet’s first aid kit, gently take your pup’s rectal temperature – a temperature over 104 degrees is a serious emergency.

Help your little dog to beat the heat by:

  • Walking them during the cooler times of day,  with rest stops and drink breaks
  • Providing shade from intense sun when outside
  • Giving them fun frozen treats like cubes of frozen canned food to chew on
  • Keeping their bowl filled with fresh cool water
  • Leaving them at home when we’re running errands – hot cars can cause your pup to become dangerously overheated in mere minutes!

Have you ever had any experiences with your Chihuahua (or any dog) getting overheated? We’d love to hear about it. Leave a comment and let us know what happened and how you handled it.

Be sure to check out our other post on sunburn and dogs.


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