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Understanding the Dangers of Heat for Dogs: When is it Too Hot to Walk?

Updated: 1 day ago

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Worryingly, heat stroke in dogs can be fatal in as little as 15 minutes. So don’t take the risk and make sure you know how to prevent your dog from overheating this summer.

Although dogs can sweat through their paw pads, they're unable to sweat through their skin to cool themselves down. Instead, they breathe rapidly (pant) to push warm air out of the body and replace it with cooler air from outside.

Unfortunately for our four-legged friends, this isn't a particularly efficient cooling method, so heat stroke is a very real threat during the summer months.

Terrier dog walking on the sand in the summer


dog paw graphic

When is it too Hot to Walk my Dog ?

Ok, so most of us know not to walk dogs when it's too hot, but what exactly is too hot ?

It's generally considered that for most dogs, under 20C, is an ideal temperature range for walking or hiking. The truth is, that surprisingly for some dogs, anything hotter than 20C can cause heat stroke.

Those at particular risk are flat faced breeds, obese dogs and puppies. Flat faced breeds have short snouts and a poor panting ability. They struggle to breath and pant efficiently in the heat, this results in less efficient cooling and breathlessness.

So if you have a Pug, Bulldog or Boston Terrier be extra careful when the temperature gauge rises.

Infographic outlining temperatures and heat stroke in dogs

1. How do I Check?

Other than watching the weather forecast or checking the app on our phone, most of us are guessing the temperature each day, so is there a simple and efficient way to determine whether it's safe to walk our dogs?

It's not just the air temperature we need to worry about but the ground temperature too.

Unbelievably, the pavement, sand or concrete can get to 60°C higher than the air temperature and their paws are indirect contact with these surfaces.

dogs walking on hot pavement

If you want a quick and easy method of working out if it's simply too hot to walk your dog, do the '7 Second Pavement Test'.

The Dogs Trust charity recommend that you place the palm of your hand on the pavement for 7 seconds - if you can't hold it there for the full 7 seconds, then it's too hot for your dog.

2. What to do if you can't Walk your Dog

During the summer, it is generally best to walk before 8 in the morning and after 8 in the evening. This allows you to exercise your pup without worrying about any potential health risks.

A dog has never died from missing a walk in the heat, but they have from walking in the heat.

Of course this can mean that your dog might be getting less exercise each day. Don't worry, less exercise is preferable to heatstroke.

One way of increasing exercise during the summer is to have fun with indoor dog games.

Dog playing an indoor puzzle toy

Dog games are great for strengthening your relationship which in turn decreases your stress levels and amazingly your dog's too.

Learning new commands and games keeps their canine minds active as they channel their boundless enthusiasm during the summer months.

Take it slowly, keep it as simple as possible to start with and only build in more difficulty when you are sure your dog is ready (always set them up to win).

We take a look at some fun indoor games you can play with your dog when the weather is simply too bad or too hot to go outside - Dog Games to Play Indoors

Investing in a high quality dog puzzle toy could be the answer. Puzzle or dog enrichment toys as they're otherwise known, have been specifically designed to exercise your dog's brain, provide endless opportunities for learning and amazingly can tire your four-legged friend out as much as a dog walk.

We test the best puzzle toys in our popular article - Best Puzzle Toys for Dogs : Banish Boredom

3. When you Simply can't Avoid the Heat

There will be occasions that you find yourself out and about during the day, so make sure you're prepared. Take lots of cold water bottles and travel bowls to help your dog stay hydrated.

Dog water bottle in white by Pawfit

Try to walk near water or under a canopy of trees. If this isn't possible stay on the shaded side of the street.

If you dog is unlikely to walk slowly off lead, keep them on lead and allow lots of 'sniffing' time.

If you find yourself at home and in the garden then there are various products including cooling vests, beds, paddling pools and sprinklers which will help to lower your dogs temperature.

Cooling, mesh dog bed from Veehoo

We look at some innovative solutions on the UK market in our review of the Best Cooling Products for Dogs

We test and feature this innovative cooling bed from Veehoo. Cleverly the mesh fabric base allows the air to flow under your dog keeping them cooler.

Perfect for the garden, these beds are also a great investment for those hot summer nights when the air is stifling. Veehoo have a range of cooling beds including some chew proof ones like this aluminium bed pictured.

4. How to Keep your Dog Hydrated

Like most people, odds are you try to drink more water. You know that staying hydrated is vital to staying healthy. The same holds true for your dog.

It's crucial that you make sure your dog has easy access to clean, fresh drinking water 24/7.

If you are concerned that your four-legged friend isn't drinking enough, why not try adding some Furr Boost to their water bowl.

Furr Boost hydration drink for dogs

Furr Boost is the ultimate health drink for dogs !

The addition of meat, fruit, vegetables, vitamins and oils take this dog drink to the next level.

Better still, the aroma of the added ingredients, which can be served cold or gently warmed as a soup, make Furr Boost far more tempting for your dog than plain water.

We loved that Furr Boost is packaged in 200ml and now 400ml Tetra Pak cartons so they are easy to stack and have a long shelf life so can be stores in the cupboard until opened. You can opt to order a mixed box or individual flavours from their range of 6 flavours.

They also offer a Taster Pack with a single carton of each flavour (ideal if you want to check your dog loves the taste first).

What's undeniable is that in terms of providing simple hydration, Furr Boost ticks all the boxes.

dog paw graphic

Thanks for dropping by and reading our article on When is it Too Hot to Walk a Dog?

Stay safe in the sun - If you suspect your dog is suffering from heat stroke or dehydration, call your vet immediately. For any health-related questions, always consult your vet as they have examined your dog, are aware of the health history, and can therefore make the best recommendations.



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