It may come as a surprise to learn that even at 20°C, a dog can suffer heat stroke on a walk. So to help you and your dog enjoy the outside as much as you can this Summer we wanted to educate you on when it’s too hot for your dog so you never have to experience your dog having heat stroke or blistered paw pads. So, when is it too hot to walk a dog? Let’s look at the best times of day to walk your dog in the summertime, which dogs are more at risk from overheating, and how to keep them safe in the summer heat.
When is it too hot to walk a dog ?
The air temperature
This may surprise you but, the safest temperature to walk your dog is 19 degrees Celsius. A temperature rise to 20 degrees for dogs can be too much, and they are very susceptible to heatstroke. Even when you’re just going for a relaxing stroll. But, it’s not just the air temperature that you need to take into consideration, it’s also whatever they’re walking on too! Just like our exposed skin can burn, so can their paw pads. Here’s a scale to help you decide when you should walk your dog in the Summertime. Keep in mind whenever taking Fido for a walk during the midday that the pavement, sand or concrete can get to 60°C higher than the air temperature. If you won’t even walk barefoot on the midday sidewalk because of how hot it is, then don’t let your dog walk on it either. Some people have very tough feet and can deal with walking on extra hot pavement, but that doesn’t mean your dog can handle it. So, the rule of thumb is, if you’re unable to hold the palm of your hand down for 10 seconds, then the pavement is too hot and will burn and blister your dog’s paws.
The best time to walk your dog
When it is too hot to walk your dog during the day? Midday from 10am-2pm is when the sun is at the highest in the sky, which also means the hottest. Change your walking routine to the early morning and/or the late evening when it’s cooler. Before 8 am and after 8 pm is our suggestion. *We understand that these times cannot accommodate everyone’s dog walking schedule which is why we added this next section.
Where to walk your dog when it’s too hot to handle
This next section is not just for the cooler times of day but also when you can’t accommodate the suggested walking time frame above. Pavements take a long time to cool down, so remember to always check the temp by doing the ‘10 second hand rule’ we mentioned above. When walking a dog in the warmer months you can always plan out a dog walking route ahead of time to help protect your dog from overheating and blistered paws. Plan a walk that’s 1. Near water 2. Under a canopy of trees, 3. On the shaded side of the street and 4. On the grass in the shade to help keep your dog protected. Always remember to walk slowly and keep the walk at a steady pace when it’s too hot to handle.
Dogs that are more at risk in hot weather
All dogs of all ages are at risk from overheating in what may seem like just a warm day to us humans. It’s important to remember that a dog’s temperature is higher than a human’s—approximately 101 degrees F to 102.5 degrees F (with an upper level of normal close to 103 degrees F); so ambient air temperature feels hotter to them than it does to us. With that being said, certain dogs are more at risk in hot weather than others like: dogs who have underlying health conditions, pregnant dogs, young pups, overactive dogs and of course elderly dogs (who are more prone to overheating sooner than fit adult dogs). But, just because a dog is in shape and spends a good amount of time outdoors with you, doesn’t mean that they can’t be affected by hot weather. Be warned, any dog can overheat and die in a very short space of time, so always carry water and be aware of how your dog is acting while outside in the heat.
Brachycephalic (short-nosed) dogs in summer heat
Certain breeds are more susceptible to overheating in the summer warmth- like brachycephalic breeds. Bulldog breeds especially. The blood vessels enlarge in the snout to transfer heat. Most Bull breeds have short snouts and a poor panting ability. So in the summer months this results in less efficient cooling and more breathlessness.
List of Brachycephalic Breeds
-Boxer-Bulldog-Brussels Griffon-Bullmastiff-Boston Terriers-Cane Corso-Chow Chow-Dogue de Bordeaux-English Toy Spaniel-French Bulldog-Japanese Chin-Lhasa Apsos-Pekingese-Pug-Shih Tzu
Wearing a Fur Coat in the Summer isn’t practical
Another point to keep in mind is that dogs have coats (aka fur), and even though they shed in the Summertime they still have a thick layer of fur that can’t be fun to wear on a hot summer day. Think about it..if it’s 85 degrees or higher outside would you throw on a sweater to wear? Having fur makes a hot day hotter for dogs due to their inability to sweat like us.
Signs Your Dog Is Overheating
Heat exhaustion, heatstroke or sudden death is all too common in the summer months. The best way to prevent this is to know the signs so that you recognize when your dog isn’t coping well with the heat. -Fast, noisy breathing and panting-Excessive drooling-Bright red or blue gums-vomiting and diarrhea-Collapse and or convulsionsThese are all clear warning signs that your dog is overheated. *Always keep in mind when buying a new puppy or dog that it takes dogs 3 months to adapt to temperature changes, so tread carefully.
How do you treat overheating?
-Immediately take your dog to a cooler area.-Wet your pet with cool water, but not cold water since rapid cooling can be dangerous.-Place your pet in front of a fan to dry off.-As your pet continues to cool, give them cool (not cold or ice) water to drink.-Take your dog to your vet or an emergency vet. Call them to notify them that you’re on the way to let them know you’ll be coming in so they can prepare to take immediate action when you arrive.
You can still enjoy the Summer together
Now, this doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy the outdoors with your dog during the hotter months. There’s still plenty of activities you can do together as long as you plan the best time of day, stay alert for signs of exhaustion, and know what to do if your dog shows any signs of overheating. The good news is…now you do since you read this article! You can enjoy a nice shaded area to relax in your garden or at the park. Rest days are always good days; especially when you have your best fur-friend to enjoy it with! You can also enjoy a paddle in a river, in the pool or at the beach. After leaving the water, find a nice shaded area to dry off, or put up an umbrella so you both aren’t in the direct sun. Your faithful dog will always want to stay wherever you are.
Walking your dog has never been easier!
Is your dog still giving you problems when going for a walk? It’s great now that you’re educated on what is too hot for your dog but, it’s no fun if you can’t even get outside with your dog because of disobedience or because your pup just isn’t fully trained yet. You can’t expect to keep your dog walking on the grass when your dog is pulling and taking you for a walk instead of the other way around. Well, if you live in or near Jacksonville, Florida, Come.Sit.Stay Dog Training can help you solve all your dog walking and training problems. We’ve helped countless dogs of all ages, sizes and breeds; and we’re the #1 recommended In-Home Dog Training service in Jacksonville! Click here to fill out our contact form online or call us directly at 904-233-0608.