“Boy it’s hot!” you tell yourself, as you sit in the shade and sip a cold glass of iced tea while your dog looks pleadingly at you. Clearly your dog is hot, heck you are and you don’t even have fur! More than likely you realize your dog’s discomfort too.
What can you do that will make your dog comfortable and protect him from potentially deadly heatstroke? Here’s what experts say.
Is it too hot to walk my dog?
So, how do you know if it is too hot to walk your dog? Experts agree that it is generally safe to take your canine pal for a walk in temperatures of up to 68F, while anything over 77F is considered very risky. This is because even at temperatures as low as 70F dogs can be at risk of developing heatstroke, a high temperature that isn’t caused by a fever. However, whether or not to walk your dog isn’t only dependent on temperature, but also on humidity and whether or not there is a breeze.
It is also important to note that different sizes and breeds of dogs have different tolerances to the heat. Large, obese, flat-faced, or very young dogs, as well as those with underlying health problems should be kept a careful eye on at temperatures of 68F and upwards, with there being a significant risk to their health and well being when the temperature reaches 75F or more.
Tips for walking your dog in hot weather
Fortunately, there are things that you can do to reduce the risks associated with hot, summer walks for your pet. Here are our top tips for walking your dog in hot weather.
Plan your walk times carefully
Unsurprisingly, the temperatures are at their highest in the middle and later part of the day. For this reason, veterinarians recommend that you walk your dog early in the morning or late in the evening. This doesn’t only ensure that the temperatures are lower, but it will also mean that the ground has had time to cool so that it is comfortable for your dog to walk on.
Check the ground temperature before you go
If you still aren’t sure about the ground temperature, test it with the back of your hand before you head outside. Place the back of your hand against the ground and hold it there. If it is too hot to hold it there for five seconds, then it is too hot for your canine’s paws and could burn them, meaning that you will need to wait until the ground is cooler before you head out for a walk.
Adjust your walking route
You may also want to think about adjusting your usual walking route, both in terms of where you walk and how far. When it is very hot, you’ll need to reduce the amount of exercise that your dog is getting which means shorter walks with less intensity. So change up your hilly hikes for gentle strolls when the temperature rises – your dog and your body will thank you for it.
Go well equipped
If you are walking further than around the block, you should plan to take some provisions with you. It is easy to get dehydrated when the weather is very warm, and your dog is no different so be sure to pack a collapsible water bowl and a bottle of fresh, cool water so that you can offer your dog a drink at regular intervals. Never let your dog drink from puddles, ponds, or the ocean as this could make them very sick.
Don’t leave your dog in the car
Ideally, you should be able to head out on a walk directly from your home, but if you have to drive somewhere first, make sure that you keep your dog cool while traveling and, if you need to make a pit stop, never, ever leave them in the car, even just for a few moments as it can be fatal.
Don’t ignore the signs of heatstroke
Heatstroke is a life-threatening, medical emergency marked by an inability to cool down the body’s temperature. Since dogs don’t have sweat glands dispersed throughout their body like humans, they regulate their temperature by panting.
On the other hand, cats keep cool by using their own saliva and licking their body.
Both dogs and cats, along with rabbits, guinea pigs, and other rodents, are susceptible to developing heatstroke. If left untreated, this condition can cause severe, potentially irreversible damage to your pet’s organs.
Some signs of heatstroke in dogs include seizures, stupor, and delirium-like behavior. Cats may show signs of heat-related distress through excessive grooming, weakness, or redness in their tongue.
If your pet is panting uncontrollably or collapses, take the animal to your veterinarian or nearest emergency veterinary hospital immediately.“