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hand feels dog's hot head

My Dog’s Head Feels Hot. What’s Causing It?

We touch our dogs’ heads often to pet them, so when they suddenly feel hot, it can be alarming. Here’s why your dog’s head may feel hot.

When you pet your dog and feel that their head is extremely hot, it’s natural to worry about what might be wrong. After all, dogs can’t tell us themselves when they’re feeling sick or uncomfortable.

We’re going to explore some of the most common causes of a hot head in dogs, how you can tell if your dog is in pain, and how to provide them with the necessary treatment. Let’s look at why your dog’s head may feel hotter than usual.

Reasons Why Your Dog’s Head Feels Hot

There are several reasons why your dog’s head might feel hot (in addition to the obvious one that they’ve just been out in the sun). Here are a few of those.

Your Dog Has a Fever

If your dog’s head feels hot to the touch, it could be a sign that they have a fever. While a fever is not necessarily a cause for alarm, it can indicate an underlying health condition. If your dog has a fever, it is vital to monitor their temperature and consult with your veterinarian. 

A dog’s average body temperature is between 99.5 and 102.5 degrees Fahrenheit. If the temperature exceeds 104 degrees, they may be suffering from heat stroke

Heat stroke is a severe condition that can lead to organ damage or even death. If you suspect your dog has a fever, contact your veterinarian immediately.

What Are Some of the Signs of Fever in Dogs?

Many people are familiar with the signs of fever in humans, but many don’t realize that dogs can also suffer from this condition. Fever is a common symptom of illness in dogs, and various underlying medical conditions can cause it. 

If your dog has a fever, you may notice a warm and dry nose, lethargy, warm ears, shivering, coughing, and vomiting. Additionally, their body temperature may be higher than 102.5 degrees Fahrenheit.

If you suspect that your dog has a fever, it is essential to contact your veterinarian right away. With prompt treatment for its underlying cause, most dogs can recover quickly from fever and return to their usual selves.

Your Dog Recently Had Vaccinations

Among the several reasons why your dog’s head feels hot to the touch is one you might not expect — your dog could be experiencing side effects from their vaccinations.

Vaccinations help to protect your dog from dangerous diseases, but they can also cause mild side effects like fever, lethargy, and swelling at the injection site. 

If your dog has recently been vaccinated and you notice that their head feels warm, it could very well be due to the vaccine and should resolve itself within a few days.

However, if the heat persists or is accompanied by other symptoms like vomiting or diarrhea, it’s best to contact your veterinarian for guidance.

Your Dog Has Allergies

A dog’s head feeling hot could be due to allergies. Allergies are a common cause of dogs’ hot heads. Suppose your dog is allergic to something in their environment such as dust or grass; their body will react by producing histamines. 

These histamines will cause the blood vessels in your dog’s head to dilate, making their head feel hot. Allergies can cause other symptoms, such as itching, sneezing, and watery eyes. 

Talk to your veterinarian about possible treatment options if you think your dog might have allergies. 

Person's hand feels dog's hot head


Dogs can get infections just like humans, and one of the signs of an infection is a dog’s head feeling hot to the touch. 

If your dog’s head feels hot and they’re displaying other symptoms like lethargy, a loss of appetite, or difficulty breathing, it’s essential to take them to the vet immediately, as they may need treatment. 

Ear infections can cause a dog’s ears to become hot, as they become inflamed as well as possible irritated by the dog scratching or pawing at the painful ear. This is usually more localized to the ears than the whole head, but any infection can cause the dog’s head to be hot.

Infections can be caused by bacteria, viruses, fungi, or parasites, so it’s crucial to get a diagnosis from a professional to determine the best course of treatment. With prompt medical attention, most dogs will make a full recovery from an infection.

Your Dog Is Excited

Excited dogs will often pant excessively. It’s important to determine, however, if excitement is the root cause of their panting.

Dogs sweat through their pads and use their tongues to cool themselves; they don’t have many sweat glands. That’s why you’ll feel your dog’s head is hot when they’re excited. 

Panting helps them to regulate their body temperature, but if they’re doing it excessively, it could be a sign of heat stroke, as noted above. 

Once again, if your dog’s head feels hot and shows other signs of heat stroke, such as excessive panting, drooling, lethargy, or vomiting, it’s essential to get them to a cool place and provide them with a lot of water to drink. If their condition doesn’t improve quickly, you should take them to the vet as soon as possible.

Your Dog Is Stressed

Have you ever noticed that your dog’s head feels hot? There are a few reasons this could be the case. One reason is that your dog is stressed. When we experience stress, our body temperature rises, and our heart rate increases. 

This is known as the fight-or-flight response, designed to help us deal with stressful situations. Just like humans, dogs can also experience stress. If your dog is panting heavily, drooling, whining, or shaking, it could be a sign that he’s feeling stressed. 

In these cases, staying calm and providing your dog with a quiet place to relax is essential. Once the stressful situation has passed, his body temperature should return to normal. If you’re concerned about your dog’s stress levels, it’s always best to consult with your veterinarian.

dogs head feels hot

What To Do if My Dog’s Head Is Hot?

If your dog’s head feels hot, you can do a few things to help them cool down. First, offer them a cool, wet cloth to lie on or rub down their bodies. 

You can also give them small amounts of cool water to drink. If they’re panting heavily, you can mist their face with water or use a fan to help them cool off. 

If your dog is still scorching, you can place them in a cool bath for a few minutes. Monitor them closely, as too much time in the water can cause hypothermia. Call your vet immediately if your dog’s temperature doesn’t seem to be going down or if they start to show other signs of distress.

How Do You Take a Dog’s Temperature?

One way to check if your dog is okay is to take their temperature. But how do you do that?

There are a few different ways to take a dog’s temperature. The most common is to use a rectal thermometer. 

To do this, petroleum jelly is applied to the thermometer’s tip before being carefully inserted into the dog’s rectum. You’ll want to hold it in place for around 60 seconds or until the thermometer beeps. This method is considered the most accurate but can be difficult, especially with wiggly dogs.

If you’re uncomfortable doing this, you can also take their temperature from their armpit. Again, insert the thermometer under their armpit and hold it for 60 seconds.

Finally, you can take your dog’s temperature using an ear thermometer. This method is quick and easy but may not be as accurate as the other two methods.

How To Take Your Dog’s Temperature if You Don’t Have a Thermometer

If you don’t have a thermometer but think your dog may have a fever, there are a few ways to check. First, feel your dog’s ears and paws. They should be slightly warmer than the temperature of humans. If they’re boiling, that’s a sign that your dog has a fever. 

You can also check your dog’s nose. Another indication of fever is if the nasal passages are heated and lined with a green or yellow discharge. Keep in mind that a dog’s temperature can fluctuate, so if you’re not sure, it’s best to err on the side of caution and take your dog to the vet. 

Finally, you can check the groin and underarm regions of your dog. These areas are typically hot and swollen when your dog has an infection and fever. Again, if you notice any of these signs, it’s best to take your dog to the veterinarian as soon as possible.

dog's head feels hot to touch

What Does It Mean if My Dog’s Head Is Hot After a Seizure?

After a seizure, it’s common for a dog’s head to feel hot. This is due to the increase in body temperature that occurs during a seizure. 

The rise in body temperature can cause the blood vessels in the head to dilate, which gives the feeling of a hot head. If your dog’s head feels hot after a seizure, it’s essential to monitor their temperature and seek medical attention if their temperature remains high.

A fever can be a sign of an underlying health condition, so it’s important to rule out any medical causes for the fever. If your dog’s head feels hot after a seizure and they don’t have a fever, it’s likely due to the increase in body temperature during the seizure and should resolve on its own.

Final Thoughts

If your dog’s head feels hot, there are a number of possible causes. Often, it’s not serious, but like with many dog-related issues, if something suddenly seems different with your pup, it’s a good idea to investigate and not ignore it.

Superb Dog Editor

Superb Dog Editor