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When is it too hot to walk your dog?

For some people, hot, sunny weather may seem fine for a lovely walk. But, dogs are not like us. They can find it very difficult to deal with extreme heat and will become dehydrated and overheat quickly

Is it too hot to walk my dog?

As a very general rule, walking your dog at any temperature over 20C should be avoided. Anything above this temperature will mean your dog gets dehydrated and very hot very quickly. The hotter the weather, the more at risk your dog becomes.  

For every degree of temperature increase, the risk to your dog increases too. Any temperature over 25C is a definite NO! Stick to the walking below 20C rule to be safe. Some dogs are more at risk from the heat than others, so be extra careful:

  • Overweight dogs
  • Brachycephalic breeds, such as French Bulldogs and Pugs
  • Older dogs- 8 years and above
  • Younger dogs- under 6 months old

If you want to walk your dog during the hot summer months, take them out before 8am or after 8pm when temperatures cool off. Offer them lots of water and walk in shaded areas if you can.

Why can't I walk my dog in hot weather?

Apart from it being very uncomfortable for many dogs, there are some serious reasons why you shouldn't walk your dog in hot weather:

  • They have hairy coats, even those that have been clipped. It's like walking around covered in a duvet during the summer. Imagine how uncomfortable it would be.
  • Dogs cannot sweat as we can. They do have small sweat glands on the pads of their paws but this is only a tiny part of their cooling-off process. You may notice them panting. This is another dog cooling technique. However, it is true. Dogs are not the most efficient creatures when it comes to cooling down. 
  • It can cause severe burns on the sensitive skin on the pads of their paws. This will be incredibly painful for them and can lead to open wounds where the skin has burnt and peeled off.

Top Tip: Stand on the pavement or patio with bare feet. Is it too hot for you? If so, you'll know it is far too hot for your dog to walk on.

How do I know if my dog is overheating?

Any excessive panting is your first warning sign that your dog is overheating. So, if you see this, don’t wait for any more symptoms – get them cooled down immediately.
 
The quickest and simplest way to do this is to remove them instantly from the source of the heat and into a cool environment. As dogs are unable to cool down by sweating, we can create the effects of sweating for them simply using a tea towel or towel.
 
Lay the towel over the dog’s body and pour cool (not cold) water over it, allowing the heat from the dog to evaporate the water, which will reduce their temperature. A fan can also be very helpful to speed up the cooling process.

Life-threatening warning signs

Once overheating has developed, your dog may:

  • Become restless and show discomfort
  • Vomit or have diarrhoea
  • Drool excessively
  • Have an increased heart rate
  • Lose coordination, have seizures or muscle tremors.

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