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Dog's head became hot- why?

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  • Dog's head became hot- why?

    My dog's head was (seemingly) randomly hot when she got into bed with me tonight. I'm perplexed, and a quick google search was not helpful. So, I turn to the collective knowledge of COTH.

    Tonight: I got home, took her out of the crate, took her out to run/pee, came in and fed normal dinner. She was acting a little nervous (pacing, not eating dinner) but I also thought it looked like "I just got done running!!" joy/panting, which is normal for her. A little while later the alarm clock went off, but I was indisposed for a good 5-10 minutes (by this time she had eaten dinner). She got nervous, pacing and panting, doing her stress-play with stuffed animals to self-soothe and trying to figure out the noise. When I was able to shut it off, she calmed. Maybe 5-10 minutes after that I hopped into bed, and I immediately noticed her hot forehead when I went to pet her. Her body temp was slightly elevated to the touch, but nowhere near like her head. This is the first I have ever noticed this. 5 minutes or so later, she feels like her normal temperature. She was in no distress when she felt hot, and if I hadn't touched her I would never have known something was up as her behavior was totally normal and relaxed.

    The past week or so: She hasn't had a regular appetite. She's been skipping meals, nibbling or eating the full meal later. When we first adopted her, her appetite was finicky and she preferred to graze, but she's had a regular feed schedule and eats with fair to moderate gusto most meals for the past 5-6 months.

    January: she had two witnessed neurological events within an hour of each other. She had no known history of seizures and has had none sense. They looked more like a drunk dance of a dog tying up than any sort of seizure (she was alert the entire time and tried to follow commands).

    She is not on medications. She does get fish oil with dinner to stop her from getting dry and itchy.

    Any thoughts on why she got a hot head tonight?

  • #2
    A literal "hot head" occurs when a pup gets worked up emotionally and the body is trying to cool itself and dissipate heat. So in other words, in an emotional dog who's body is maintaining a normal body temp a "hot head" is normal.

    I wouldn't read too much into it. If you're honestly concerned about body temp, the only accurate measurement of fever vs. normal in animals is a rectal temp. Which most dogs don't mind, but often cats think is worse than having a kidney removed and waking up in a tub of ice.........
    You can't fix stupid.... but you can breed it!


    • #3
      My first thought, long before I read about her recent seizures, was epilepsy. Whether it is or not, I have no idea.

      But be aware that petit mal seizures can be as minor as the dog appearing to snap at invisible flies, stare at the wall intently for a brief period and other easy-to-miss events.

      I would talk to your vet and watch the dog very carefully. Maybe cut the fish oil for a while too. Maybe too much vitamin A?? I've heard of dogs stumbling and having difficulty with their front legs on too high a dose of fish oil.

      Also check your dog's diet. While you might not want to make any changes until you see what's going on with your dog, but do check into possible issues and look at the ingredients in her current food.

      Seizures in dogs can be triggered by many things, including environment triggers such as household cleaners (pine sol or pine cleaners), fabric sprays, carpet fresheners, chemicals applied to the yard/lawn, bug sprays and exterminator chemicals, and YES, common flea and tick products.

      Epilepsy most often shows up after two years of age, but seizures in response to environmental triggers can show up at any age.

      Not to panic you, it may not be related. Hope you figure it out and your dog is okay.
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      • #4
        I was thinking of too much fish oil as well. I think you are supposed to supplement w/Vit E to balance things out if you give fish oil. Too much Fish oil can make a dog have some really serious problems...


        • Original Poster

          We started the oil after the seizures. We buy it from our vet, and he checked her out for the neuro events within hours of her discharge from the hospital. She gets 2-3 mL with dinner. But I will hold it for a few days and see if that helps anything.

          I didn't realize they could get localized heat from being emotionally worked up! Knowing that, it makes most sense to me that that was the cause. But I will keep a closer eye on her this weekend.

          Thanks, everyone!


          • #6
            Hence the term...hot headed.

            My cocker had petit mal seizures as a consequence of Lyme disease. We could only use Frontline on her...not the Plus and the Preventic collar set her off. So did cleaners, air fresheners, lawn chemicals and oddly, dry wall and grout dust.