When is it too hot to walk a dog?
Many owners ask themselves that question before exercising their loyal companions since they want to keep them safe from dehydration and heat strokes.
Well, temperatures at or above 90°F (32°C) are extremely dangerous to dogs, regardless of their condition, and some may be at risk even in cooler conditions.
Read all about it below!
When Is It Too Hot to Walk a Dog?
You may not realize just how it can get for your dogs since you both love your daily walks during bright summer days until you see them panting in distress.
Unlike us, dogs are much less resilient to extreme heat, especially if they have to walk and exercise on scorching hot tarmac with their bare paws.
So to avoid burned paw pads, dehydration, and overheating, most veterinary services recommend staying at home when it’s upwards of 90°F (32°C) outside.
However, per the handy Vets Now infographic, dog owners should reconsider taking out their dog for a walk even in temperatures as low as 68°F (20°C):
- 90+°F (32+°C)—heat stroke can happen to a dog of any size, breed, or condition;
- 82–88°F (28–31°C)—very dangerous for every canine and life-threatening to extremely large or obese dogs, as well as puppies and flat-faced breeds;
- 75–81°F (24–27°C)—take extreme caution since dogs will feel very uncomfortable when exercised in these conditions, especially the aforementioned groups;
- 68–73°F (20–23°C)—dogs with underlying medical conditions or breathing difficulties may still suffer a heat stroke at this heat if they are physically active;
- 60–66°F (16–19°C)—while generally safe for most breeds at any time of the day, you should still keep an eye on obese, older, and/or infirm dogs;
- 54–59°F (12–15°C)—no recorded heat strokes at these temperatures.
As you can see, the risk for a heat stroke greatly increases above 73°F (23°C), especially if it’s too humid outside, at which point dogs are unable to self-regulate their temperature and cool down, which may end tragically if not treated properly and on time.
Note: You can also use the quick “paw test”: put your hand on the pavement, and if it’s too hot for you after 10 seconds, then it’s definitely too hot for your dog as well.
Why Can’t You Walk a Dog in Hot Weather?
Dogs are more vulnerable to heat exhaustion and other serious heat-related illnesses than us due to several anatomic differences, including but not limited to the following:
- They have smaller sweat glands—located on the pads of their paws, these glands do not make a lot of difference when dogs try to cool off, even if they are panting;
- Their hairy coat retains heat—the purpose of their fur is to retain heat, even among shorthaired breeds, which is less than ideal during the summer;
- Their paw pads are sensitive to heat—dog paws are susceptible to burns since they are unprotected by hair, and under extreme heat, they may even lead to open wounds; in such cases, you will have to look for a good dog paw balm to treat the injuries.
Note: If you’ve recently moved to a hotter climate and brought your furry friend with you, it’s better to have it spend more time at home for the first couple of months since it can take up to three months for dogs to get used to warmer weather.
6 Signs Your Dog Is Overheating
Now that you know the deadly consequences of heat stroke in dogs, let’s review the signs of overheating you need to look out for before its too late:
- Drooling excessively,
- Fast and heavy panting,
- Gums changing color,
- Drowsiness or lethargy,
- Diarrhea or vomiting,
- Collapsing or convulsions.
If your dog shows any of these signs, you must act fast! First, bring them to a shaded and cool area and give them fresh water. You should also spray their fur with water but do not drench them as that can shock their system. If all else fails, immediately contact a vet.
|Are you new to the whole pet ownership thing? Read our essential dog care guide to make sure you’re doing it right!
6 Tips on Walking Your Dog in Hot Weather
To reduce the risks associated with hot summer walks, take these precautions:
- Carefully choose your walk times—avoid the day’s hottest hours and plan your walks before 8 a.m. and after 8 p.m.;
- Keep an eye on the weather outside—afternoon walks are not out of the question if the weather cools down after raining or getting cloudy;
- If necessary, take a different route—try to avoid hot tarmac routes and walk your dog on dirt or grass-covered roads, especially those with plenty of shade;
- Bring plenty of water with you—just because a dog can go without water for a couple of days, it doesn’t mean it should ever go through that ordeal; therefore, bring a collapsible bowl and cool water that you can give to your pup throughout your walk;
- Groom the dog on a regular basis—a well-groomed dog can better regulate its body temperature during the hot seasons.
- Never leave a pet alone in a car—cracking a window is not enough since the temperatures inside a vehicle can quickly climb above 100°F.
In any case, you can skip walking during days when the air and the ground are extremely hot, and your dog might even prefer that since they like to lie around in such circumstances.
The Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA) offers additional tips and tricks that may prove helpful under certain circumstances.
If it’s too hot for you, it’s more than too hot for your furry friends since they are less resilient to extreme heat than us. So when you need to exercise your doggos during hot summers, do it in the early or late hours of the day, and take plenty of water with you!
Frequently Asked Questions
What time of day is too hot to walk a dog?
You should never walk your dog during the middle of hot summer days since they are susceptible to heat strokes, so reserve your daily strolls for the mornings at around 8 a.m. or later in the evenings at or after 8 p.m. since it’s much cooler outside.
Is it OK not to walk my dog when it’s hot?
Dogs need to be exercised every day in order to stay healthy; therefore, during hot days, walk your dog during dusk or dawn, or take it to a park with a lot of shade.
When is it too hot to walk a dog during the summer?
In general, temperatures upwards of 90°F are unsafe for any dog size, breed, and condition due to significant heat stroke risks; however, take extreme caution even when exercising your dog at 68°F, especially if it’s too young, obese, and/or flat-faced.