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My Dog’s Head Is Hot: What Does It Mean And What To Do?

My Dog’s Head Is Hot: What Does It Mean And What To Do?
Dog's Head Is Hot

If you are a dog owner, chances are that this situation already happened to you. You were playing and cuddling with your dog when you suddenly noticed that his body seems to be warmer than usual. You check the dog’s head and it feels hot. 

Instant panic kicks in, you don’t know the cause. Is it fever, is it something even more dangerous? What should you do?

Well, in this article we will go through the most common reasons why your dog’s head is hot. We will also learn what needs to be done in these situations.

Why Is My Dog’s Head Hot? The Most Common Reasons

If your dog’s head feels hot, you need to check several possible reasons.

Fever

Fever is nothing more than an elevated temperature. When left untreated, high fever can cause serious damage, mostly to the brain of the affected animal.

Dog’s normal temperature is slightly higher than that of a human. On average, dog’s temperature will be in the range between 100°F (37.78°C) and 102.5°F (39.17°C).

The only proper way to measure the dog’s temperature is to use a digital rectal thermometer. You can learn more about properly taking the dog’s temperature by reading this article.

Fever can be caused by several different factors.

An External Or Internal Infections

Bacterial and viral infections are common in dogs. They can be either internal or external. An external infection can be a result of trauma to the skin, a scratch, or ear and eye infection.

On the other hand, internal infection is when the infection catches internal organs such as the lungs, brain, kidneys, etc.

No matter, the type of infection, you need to determine and treat the source of infection.

Dog Ate Something Toxic

Many of the things we eat and which are completely harmless, even healthy, to us, are unfortunately toxic to our dogs. However, your dog may still eat chocolate, macadamia nuts, or some toxic plant which will cause him many health issues, including high fever. 

In these cases, you need to act quickly and take your dog to the vet as soon as possible. If you are unable to do that, at least call Animal Poison Control (ASPCA) and follow their instructions. You can contact them at this number (888) 426-4435.

Vaccination Side Effect

When a dog is vaccinated, the most common reaction is fever. However, this type of fever occurs shortly after vaccination and doesn’t last long (48 hours at max). If the fever lasts longer than two days after vaccination, take your dog to the vet.

Signs That Dog Has Fever

If your dog has a fever, besides elevated body temperature he will also experience one or more of the following symptoms:

  • Shivering
  • Lethargy
  • Depression
  • Nasal discharge
  • Vomiting
  • Loss of appetite

Exposure To Heat Source Or Sunlight

Dog owners often panic when their dog’s head seems to be hot. However, this doesn’t automatically means something is wrong with your dog. In fact, in most cases, it turns out to be something completely harmless. 

For example, you may be walking your dog on a warm day in direct sunlight. This can cause your dog’s head to feel slightly warmer than usual. Or maybe your dog was simply sitting close to the heat source such as a heater or fireplace. 

Stress & Trauma

We are all too aware of how bad stress is for us and what effects it has on the human body and health in general. Well, unfortunately, it’s the same for our furry friends. 

Stress and trauma can affect a dog’s body in several ways, one of which is elevated body temperature. This can happen during thunderstorms, fireworks, the loss of an owner or a partner, or as a result of PTSD

Dog’s Cooling Mechanism

Your dog’s body works differently than yours when it comes to keeping the optimal temperature. Humans sweat through the entire surface of the skin, while dogs only sweat through their feet. 

Dogs also reduce their body temperature by panting. However, dogs also have another cooling mechanism. When the body needs to get rid of excessive heat, it sends blood circulating to the dog’s head and ears where it spreads and cools. Therefore, what you perceive as a hot head may in fact be a result of an efficient cooling mechanism.

People Also Ask

My dog is overheated. How to cool him down?

If you notice your furry friend is overheated you need to provide enough cold water he can drink. Also, find some towels or a piece of cloth, run them under cold water and place them on the dog’s neck, armpits, hind legs.

You can also turn on the air conditioner inside the room or place the dog in front of a fan.

Is dry nose a sign that my dog has a fever?

There are many reasons for dry noses in dogs. Therefore, this is not a reliable way to determine if your dog has a fever. The best option to determine if your dog has a fever is to use the digital rectal thermometer.

How to know when the outside temperature is too hot for my dog?

Before you take your dog for a walk, place the back of your hand on the pavement. If you can’t hold it for more than five seconds, it’s too hot for your dog.