Is it Safe to Walk Your Dog in Hot Weather?
As it gets warmer, you'll want to take your dog on outdoor adventures. But what temperature is too hot to walk your dog in the summer heat? Although your dog still needs exercise, you want to take precautions, so he doesn't get overheated. Here's a look at the safe temperatures for walking your dog and how to know when it's just too hot to go outside.
Avoid the Hottest Part of the Day
When temperatures get really high in the summer, the best method is to avoid going outside during the hottest part of the day altogether. Instead, walk your dog in the early morning or in the evening when the sun is setting, or it's dark outside.1
What Temperature Is Too Hot?
What temperature is too hot? We can all safely assume that 100°F is definitely too hot, but what about 80°F? Some recommend that anything above 90°F is too hot.2 But you might be surprised to learn that even when it's 77°F outside, pavement that's in the sun can heat up to 125°F. That's too hot! It's just 10 degrees shy of the temperature that fries an egg in a pan in five minutes.3 Your dog can get skin damage in just one minute if the asphalt is 125°F.
So how do you know if it's too hot? If you put the back of your hand on the pavement for five to seven seconds and it's too hot to the touch, that's a good sign you should avoid the pavement.
It's always best to err on the side of caution. If you have any doubt, walk in the grass instead or try going out during the cooler morning or evening hours. If walking on the pavement is unavoidable, invest in some "dog booties" to protect your pup's paws from the heat. There are also topical solutions that can help sensitive paws.
Extra Summer Safety Tips
Even if you try to stay inside during the hottest part of the day, sometimes going outside when it's hot is unavoidable. When you do go outside in the heat, use dog-safe sunblock on any exposed parts of your dog's skin4 and try to stay in the shade to avoid sunburn. Dogs with white or light-colored fur are especially at risk of getting burned. Dogs with shorter muzzles might also have more trouble breathing in the summer heat, and overweight or older dogs might have more issues too.
Make sure you carry water with you so your dog doesn't get dehydrated. If you want your dog's water to be cold, try the Coolin' Bowl. It can keep water cool for 15 hours or more if you freeze the bowl overnight.
If you're outside enjoying the day together, try a Cool Bed III, which requires no electricity and helps cool your dog in temperatures below 95°F. If your dog needs shade, consider the K&H Pet Cot Canopy attached to the K&H Coolin' Pet Cot. The cot stays cooler because it's elevated off the ground, and it has a cooling center for extra comfort.
If your dog enjoys playing in the water, a pet pool may be a great option to help keep your pup cool. This portable pool has a metal frame to prevent collapsing and water loss, and its non-slip vinyl is easy to clean.
Don't forget to keep your dog's fur well-groomed, so her coat isn't too dense for the summer heat. And never leave your dog in the car alone on a hot day, even for a few minutes.
Know the Signs of Heatstroke
It's still a good idea to know the signs of heatstroke, even if you are as careful as possible.5 These can include extra heavy panting, a fast heartbeat, acting extra thirsty, or even suddenly becoming lethargic or clumsy. Salivating more than usual, throwing up, glazed eyes, or trouble breathing are also signs. If you notice these symptoms, take your dog to the veterinarian right away. On your way, cool down your dog with a wet towel or a cold pack, or, before you go, help cool him off with water from a hose.6
Although the heat can be an issue for your dog, following these steps can help make walking your dog in the summer heat a more pleasant activity for everyone. Try to avoid the hottest part of the day, come prepared with water, and bring protective dog booties. Do that, and you'll both be in great shape for a fun adventure.
1. RSPCA. "Dog Care in Summer." RSPCA.org.uk, https://www.rspca.org.uk/adviceandwelfare/seasonal/summer/dogs.
2. Charleston Dog Walker. "When Is It Too Hot to Walk My Dog?" CharlestonDogWalker.com, https://charlestondogwalker.com/2017/06/07/when-is-it-too-hot-to-walk-my-dog.
3. Price, Emily. "Know When It's Too Hot to Walk Your Dog." Lifehacker, 23 June 2019, https://lifehacker.com/know-when-its-too-hot-to-walk-your-dog-1835785473.
5. The Humane Society of the United States. "Keep Pets Safe in the Heat." HumaneSociety.org, https://www.humanesociety.org/resources/keep-pets-safe-heat.
6. ABC 7 News. "Simple Trick to Tell if It's Too Hot Outside to Walk Your Dog." ABC7News.com, 1 July 2015, https://abc7news.com/dog-overheating-heatstroke-walking-in-summer-heat/820045/.