What temperature is too hot to walk a dog?
Summer is finally here, and many of us are eager to get outside with our dogs! As the weather heats up, it's important to know what temperature is too hot to walk a dog. Most dogs can enjoy walks at temperatures up to 70° F. In warmer weather, you need to take some precautions to ensure your dog stays safe and hydrated during your walk.
Check the Pavement
A quick and easy way to check if it's safe to walk your dog is to place the back of your hand on a sunny patch of pavement. If you can't comfortably hold it there for at least five to ten seconds, it's too hot to walk your dog. If your dog must be on pavement when it's hot, try to avoid standing in one place for too long. Standing in a shady area or bringing along a mat or cooling pet cot for your dog to rest on can help prevent his paws from burning.
It's Not Just the Heat
The humidity, wind, and amount of shade available on your walk can affect your dog's ability to tolerate the warm weather. Strenuous exercise, like running or rough play, can also put your dog at higher risk for overheating. Make sure you consider all of these factors before deciding whether it is safe for your dog to tag along with you.
Know Your Dog
Some dogs are more prone to heatstroke than others. Brachycephalic, or short-nosed, breeds like Bulldogs, Boxers, and Pugs are particularly susceptible to high temperatures because they have difficulty panting to stay cool. Double-coated breeds, like Huskies and Akitas, may also be less suited to warm weather due to their thick fur. In any breed, health problems like obesity, heart disease, or airway abnormalities can also put your dog at greater risk for heatstroke. If you have any concerns about your dog's ability to exercise in warm weather, it's best to discuss them with your veterinarian before venturing out in the summer heat.
Signs of Heatstroke in Dogs
Keep a close eye on your dog when you're outside in the summer. Catching the signs of heatstroke early can prevent your dog from becoming seriously ill. If your dog shows any signs of overheating—such as lethargy, excessive panting, or dehydration—get him indoors and cool him off right away. If the symptoms do not improve within five to ten minutes, or if your dog develops more serious signs such as a fever, weakness, difficulty breathing, and rapid pulse, seek veterinary care immediately.
When In Doubt, Take It Easy
Heatstroke can be life-threatening, so it's always best to be cautious when the temperatures rise. Try these tips to help protect your dog from the heat:
- Walk in the early morning or late evening when temperatures are cooler. Limit time outdoors during the hottest part of the day.
- Take shorter walks and look for routes with lots of shade.
- Bring along plenty of cool, fresh water and offer it to your dog frequently.
- Slow your pace and take frequent breaks.
- Take a walk near a pond or a stream where your dog can cool off.
- Avoid strenuous activities like running or games of fetch.
- Head home early if your dog shows signs of fatigue.
Summer activities are a great way to have fun and bond with your dog, but it's important to know when it's too hot to walk your dog. Taking precautions to beat the heat will ensure that you and your dog can continue your adventures all summer long!
Elizabeth Racine is a veterinarian who, when not in the clinic, enjoys hanging out with her Beagle, Dasher, and her cat, Julius.