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Why Does My Dog Feel Hot To The Touch? Possible Reasons

Written by: Dogster Team

Last Updated on February 16, 2024 by Dogster Team

man with labrador dog

Why Does My Dog Feel Hot To The Touch? Possible Reasons

I have a 2yr. old rescue dog (dna said mini poodle/chihuahua), he was inheirated, moved from Az. to In.

I know a dogs normal temperature is higher than ours and his is normal however, his body is always extremely warm to the touch. Not an excessive amount of hair (white-pink skinned), he loves winter dislikes summer (always seeks our shade). He pants soon after a walk starts in the summer, his heart is okay, thyroid okay and temp is normal.

I’ve tried to get answers to no avail and when we go to the vet another issue prevails
and the situation I’ve brought up is unintentionally pushed aside. So, when all the normal health issues are fine, what could be possible reasons for my dogs heating/cooling system being off?

Valparaiso, IN

wheaten terrier dog with his owner
Image Credit: katamount, Shutterstock

I am not convinced that there’s anything wrong with your dog’s heating and cooling systems. If his temperature is normal, the systems are doing their jobs.

Dogs and cats with short hair generally feel warmer than their long-haired counterparts. As an extreme example, try petting a hairless Sphynx cat. They are surprisingly warm. For less pronounced examples, try petting a Greyhound, Miniature Pinscher, or, here you go, Chihuahua.

Hair serves as insulation on dogs and cats. All mammals give off heat, but the heat cannot be easily felt in individuals that are covered with insulation. Relatively barren skin, however, should feel warm when it’s normal.

You mention that your dog pants on walks during hot days. This also is normal. It’s true that long haired dogs generally are better acclimatized to cold days and short haired dogs often are better acclimatized to hot days. It’s also true that there are plenty of exceptions.

If your dog is thriving in general, and if his temperature (taken rectally) generally is normal (between 100 and 102.5 degrees Fahrenheit), then I wouldn’t worry about his heating and cooling systems.

However, with spring in full force, you should beware of one problem that is especially common in short haired dogs with pink skin: sunburn. Be careful not to let him spend too much time in direct sunlight during peak sunshine hours.

Photo: Guess whose head feels warmest to the touch.

Featured Image Credit: 4 PM production, Shutterstock


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