why is my dogs head hot
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Is Your Pup’s Dome Too Hot? Discover Why!

When a dog’s head feels hotter than usual, it’s a sign that deserves attention. This unusual warmth can stem from harmless reasons like overheating after play or indicate something more serious, such as dehydration or an underlying health condition. Observing your dog’s overall behavior and physical symptoms is crucial, and seeking veterinary advice is recommended to ensure your pet’s health and comfort. Keeping your dog hydrated, especially on the move, can prevent dehydration and maintain their well-being.

Why is my dogs head hot?

As dog owners, it’s important to keep them healthy and happy. Part of this involves knowing why they might feel warmer sometimes. Have you ever felt your dog’s head and thought it was hotter than it should be?

This article will explore the reasons behind your dog’s warm head and offer some advice on how to handle it.

Reasons your dog’s head feels hot to the touch

It’s common for a dog’s head to feel warm when you touch it. However, if the warmth feels unusually high, it might indicate potential health issues such as fevers, stress, reactions to vaccinations, allergies, or inflammation.

Let’s have a look.

Your dog has a fever

Noticing a warmer-than-usual head or nose in your dog could signal a fever, a common concern for pet owners. Fevers in dogs may arise from various causes, including infections, illness, or exposure to high temperatures.

Key indicators, besides the warmth of the head or nose, include lethargy, reduced appetite, and shivering. A dog’s standard body temperature ranges from 100.2 to 103.8°F, which can be accurately checked using a rectal thermometer.

Should you suspect a fever, promptly consulting with a veterinarian is crucial to provide your dog with necessary care and treatment.

Dog has a fever

Is your dog stressed?

Observing your dog feeling warmer, especially during moments of stress, is a genuine physiological response, not merely a figment of your imagination.

Anxiety or fear in dogs activates their “fight or flight” mechanism, leading to the secretion of stress hormones such as cortisol and adrenaline. These hormones escalate the dog’s heart rate, blood pressure, and consequently, their body temperature.

Thus, a hot sensation from your dog might be an indicator of stress, not just an effect of external heat. For managing such stress, Calming Chews offer a beneficial solution.

These chews, enriched with essential B vitamins and minerals like magnesium, not only alleviate stress and anxiety but also support your dog’s overall development. Consider choosing Calming Chews for a stress-relief aid for your pet, now available with free shipping.

Canine vaccinations

Noticing your dog feeling warmer after a vaccination? This is a typical reaction, as vaccines prompt the immune system to build protective antibodies, sometimes causing a slight rise in body temperature.

Generally, this minor temperature increase isn’t cause for concern. However, monitoring your dog’s behavior post-vaccination is wise. Should there be any notable changes in their behavior, consulting your veterinarian is recommended to ensure everything is progressing smoothly.

Dog allergies

Witnessing our dogs struggle with allergies is tough, and interestingly, it can lead to a rise in their body temperature.

Allergic reactions in dogs often manifest physically, sometimes including fever—a symptom that’s easy to miss. It’s crucial to watch over our pets closely, particularly in allergy-prone seasons, and stay alert to any shifts in their behavior or health.

Proactive steps and consulting with a veterinarian are key to ensuring the well-being and happiness of our furry friends.

Also read: Dogs with mango worms

Heatstroke or overheating

Overheating, also known as heatstroke, can make dogs’ heads feel hot. It happens if they are in very warm places for too long, like inside a hot car or doing a lot of exercise on a warm day.

Dogs with short noses, like French Bulldogs and Bulldogs, are more likely to suffer from heatstroke.


If dogs don’t drink enough water, they can become dehydrated. This means they lose more water than they take in.

Symptoms of dehydration include a warm head, dry gums, eyes that look sunken, tiredness, and skin that doesn’t bounce back when pinched.

Dogs can start to feel dehydrated in less than a day and might only last around two days without water. If a dog is sick and experiences vomiting or diarrhea, it’s at an even higher risk of getting dehydrated.

Infectious disease

Infectious diseases like distemper, parvovirus, and kennel cough can make dogs’ heads feel hot because they often lead to a fever.

These illnesses are very easy to catch and can spread from one dog to another or through touching things that infected dogs have touched.

Both small, specific infections and those that affect the whole body can make your dog’s temperature go up, causing their head to feel warm. This happens as the body tries to fight off the germs causing the illness by raising the temperature, which helps kill the microbes.

Juvenile Cellulitis

Juvenile Cellulitis, often called puppy strangles, is an uncommon illness that can make puppies’ heads feel warm. It also leads to sores near their eyes and mouth. This condition is related to the immune system and results in swelling of the skin and lymph nodes.

Skin and Ear Infections

Skin issues like pyoderma and ringworm can make dogs’ heads feel warm. These problems are caused by bacteria, fungi, or parasites and often result in red, swollen, and itchy skin.

Ear infections can also warm up a dog’s head by causing inflammation and making the nearby areas, including the head, warmer.

Signs that a dog might have an ear infection include shaking their head, scratching their ears a lot, seeing discharge from the ears, and a warm feeling around the ears and head.

Autoimmune disorder

Autoimmune disorders like lupus and pemphigus can make dogs’ heads feel warm. These illnesses happen when the immune system mistakenly attacks the dog’s own body, causing swelling and various symptoms.

Research indicates that pemphigus, which leads to blisters on the skin, accounts for about one-third of all autoimmune diseases in dogs.


Head or neck injuries can also lead to a dog’s head feeling warm. This might happen if a dog is hit by a car or falls from a high place.

If your dog seems uncomfortable, or you notice swelling or warmth in certain areas, it’s important to see a vet for a check-up and to figure out the best way to help your pet.

 Your dog may have inflammation

Inflammation is your body’s way of responding when something harmful, like an injury or infection, happens. It makes the area warm, red, and swollen.

If your dog gets inflamed, it might feel warmer, especially around the head. This warmth shows that its immune system is working hard to battle the problem.

Although this reaction is a good sign, it’s crucial to monitor your dog’s temperature and lower it if needed.

Understanding Canine Temperature & Hyperthermia

Normal Dog Temperature

A healthy dog’s average body temperature is between 100.5 to 102.5 degrees Fahrenheit (38.0 to 39.2 degrees Celsius). This temperature can slightly change based on the dog’s age, breed, and how active they are.

To check if your dog’s temperature is normal, you can use a digital thermometer to take their temperature rectally. Make sure to use lubricant and be gentle to avoid hurting your dog. If their temperature is too high or too low, it’s a sign they might be sick, and you should call a vet.

Remember, a dog’s temperature can go up and down during the day, like after playing or when they’re stressed. But, if it’s often not in the normal range, it’s time to get help from a vet.

Other Symptoms of a Hot Head in Dogs

Dogs can get too hot, especially in the summer. Look for these signs that your dog might be overheating:

  • Excessive panting: Dogs cool off by panting. Too much panting can mean they’re too hot.
  • Red ears & gums: Dogs’ ears and gums turn red when they’re hot, as they try to release heat.
  • Drooling: A lot of drooling can indicate your dog is trying to cool down. Watch for foam around the mouth too.
  • Lethargy: If your dog is sluggish or seems confused, they might be overheated.
  • Vomiting or diarrhea: These are serious signs that the heat is affecting your dog’s health.

If you see any of these symptoms, act fast. Move your dog to a cool place, give them water, and use cool, damp towels or a fan to help them chill. If they don’t get better or seem to get worse, call a vet immediately.

Also read: Cytopoint killed my dog

Diagnosing a Hot Head in Dogs

Physical Examination

If a dog’s head is unusually warm, a detailed check-up by a vet is essential. In this exam, the vet will measure the dog’s temperature, heartbeat, and breathing rate.

They will also look for signs that the dog might be in pain, like if it’s crying or showing distress, and check for any swelling or redness around the head and neck.

Diagnosing a Hot Head in Dogs

Blood Tests

Blood tests are useful for figuring out why a dog’s head is hot. A complete blood count (CBC) can show if there’s any infection or inflammation. Additionally, a chemistry panel can help find any hidden health issues that might be causing the symptoms.


Imaging techniques like X-rays or CT scans give a closer view of a dog’s head and neck, helping to spot any unusual signs or injuries that could be making their head hot. An MRI might be used for an even more detailed examination of the brain if needed.

How to Treat a Hot Head in Dogs


If a dog has a hot head, certain medications can help. Only give your dog aspirin (specifically formulated for dogs) or any medication under a vet’s advice, as the wrong dose can be harmful.

Veterinarians may also prescribe Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs) like carprofen, meloxicam, or firocoxib to lower fever and reduce swelling. It’s crucial to stick to the prescribed dosage and watch for any side effects.

How to Treat Your Dog’s Hot Head at Home

To help a dog with a hot head:

  • Ensure they’re in a cool, comfy place with access to fans, air conditioning, and shade.
  • Provide lots of water and a shaded or cool spot for resting.
  • Avoid hard exercise when it’s very hot outside.
  • Use cool compresses on their head and neck to lower their temperature.

Keep a close eye on your dog and get in touch with a vet if their condition doesn’t improve or gets worse.

Prevention Strategies

To prevent your dog’s head from getting too hot and avoid heatstroke and related problems, especially with rising global temperatures, consider these tips:

  • Ensure constant access to water: Keeping hydrated is crucial for regulating body temperature, so make sure your dog always has fresh water available, particularly in hot weather.
  • Seek shade: Direct sunlight can quickly overheat a dog’s head. Offer a shaded area or a cool, air-conditioned space for your dog during peak heat hours.
  • Adjust exercise routines: Avoid exercising your dog during the hottest times. Opt for cooler early mornings or late evenings.
  • Utilize cooling products: Items like cooling mats, vests, and bandanas can help maintain your dog’s head and overall body temperature at safer levels.
  • Maintain a suitable hair length: Long hair can trap heat. Regular trims can help your dog stay cooler.
  • Never leave your dog in a parked car: Cars can heat up fast, turning into dangerous places for dogs. Always take your dog with you instead of leaving them in the car.

Adhering to these guidelines can greatly reduce the risk of overheating, ensuring your dog remains comfortable and healthy in warm weather.

Also read: My dog has parvo but is drinking water

Should I Be Worried if My Dog’s Head Feels Hot? When to Consult the Vet

If your dog’s head is unusually warm, it could signal a health issue, ranging from fever and infection to inflammation. Some conditions might be mild and get better alone, but others need immediate care from a vet.

Seek a vet’s advice if your dog has a hot head along with symptoms like:

  • Feeling very tired or weak
  • Not wanting to eat
  • Throwing up or having diarrhea
  • Having trouble breathing
  • Panting a lot
  • Having seizures
  • Acting differently or seeming confused

It’s crucial to get veterinary help quickly if you notice these signs. Waiting too long could make your dog’s condition worse, leading to serious problems.

Frequently Asked Questions

Should my dog’s head feel hot?

A dog’s head might naturally feel a bit warmer than the rest of its body. But if it seems much hotter, this could indicate a health problem. Keeping an eye on your dog’s body temperature and making sure it stays in a safe range is important.

Why does my dog’s head get hot when I pet her?

Petting your dog can make their head feel warmer because it increases blood flow to that area. This is a normal reaction and usually isn’t something to worry about. However, if you see other unusual signs, it might be worth paying attention to.

My dog’s head is hot, and nose is dry. What could it be?

When your dog’s head feels hot and their nose is dry, it might mean they have a fever. Other signs to look for are tiredness, not wanting to eat, and shivering. Keep an eye on these symptoms and talk to a vet if you think your dog might be sick with a fever.

Why does my dog feel hot to the touch?

If your dog seems warmer than usual, it might be a sign of a health problem like a fever, an infection, or swelling. It’s key to keep an eye on your dog’s body temperature and look out for other signs to figure out why they’re feeling hot.

Why is my Chihuahua’s head hot?

Chihuahuas are a small breed of dog known for having a faster metabolism compared to bigger dogs. This means they naturally have a bit of a higher body temperature, which might make their heads feel warm when you touch them. But, if your Chihuahua’s head is unusually hot, it could point to a health problem that needs attention.

How do you tell if a dog has a fever without a thermometer?

There are a few key signs that might suggest your dog has a fever, even if you don’t have a thermometer. These signs include your dog being unusually tired, not wanting to eat, shivering, and having a dry nose. If you think your dog might have a fever, it’s crucial to get in touch with a vet to find out what’s wrong and how to treat it.

Can you tell if a dog has a fever by their head?

Many people believe that a warm and dry nose means a dog has a fever, but that’s not always accurate. Dogs naturally have a higher body temperature than humans. The most reliable method to check if your dog has a fever is by measuring their body temperature.

Dog head hot between eyes

When a dog’s head is hot between the eyes, it may indicate fever or inflammation. Measuring their temperature accurately is essential for determining if veterinary care is needed.

My dogs head and ears are hot

If your dog’s head and ears feel hot, it could signal a health concern like fever or infection. It’s crucial to observe any additional symptoms and consult a veterinarian to ensure proper diagnosis and treatment.

Why is my dog’s neck hot?

When a dog’s neck feels hot, it might be due to fever, inflammation, or an underlying health issue. It’s important to monitor for other symptoms and seek veterinary advice to address the cause effectively.

Conclusion: Should my dogs head feel hot?

Monitoring your dog’s temperature is crucial, particularly when it changes swiftly. A hot head on your dog could signal a minor problem escalating into a more serious condition if their body can’t cool down properly on its own. Understanding the reasons behind an elevated body temperature is key for dog owners to identify potential health risks. If something seems wrong with your dog, contacting your veterinarian promptly is vital; they might be at risk of heatstroke. For the latest advice on pet care, consider subscribing to our newsletter. It’s packed with useful information to help you care for your furry friend effectively.

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