The summer sun is wonderful, and it’s lovely to take a long walk outside or sit on a sandy beach with your dog. The only problem is that we don’t always consider our dogs and how they are able to cope with the heat. There is a saying that circulates the web – that a dog has never died from missing a walk, but they have from walking in the heat.
But what temperature is too hot to walk a dog in the UK? Our summers are getting warmer, but they still can’t compare to more tropical and exotic countries, so what counts as being too hot? In this guide, we will take you through all the dos and don’ts of hot weather walking for dog owners across the globe.
What Temperature Should You Not Walk a Dog?
Generally speaking, you should avoid anything over 20C. This can vary greatly depending on the breed of dog you have and their size, and the level of risk increases alongside the temperature. Let’s take a closer look at how it works.
12-15C: This is a safe temperature for all breeds and sizes. There has been no evidence to suggest that this increases the risk of heat stroke and health issues, so you can enjoy your walk.
16-19C: This tends to be a safe temperature and the risk remains quite low. However, it’s always best to keep an eye on large, obese, and breeds with flat faces as they can struggle in all heats.
20-23C: This temperature has an increased risk of heatstroke for dogs who suffer from underlying health conditions, such as obesity, as well as flat-faced breeds.
24-27C: At this temperature, exercise should be undertaken with extreme caution as the risk of heat stroke is massively increased. Large, elderly, young, obese, and flat-faced dogs are all at great risk in this level of heat.
28-31C: This temperature is dangerous for all dogs, but especially life-threatening for large, obese, young, old, and flat-faced dogs (the latter of which tend to have breathing difficulties).
32C+: This temperature is a major and life-threatening risk for all dogs, regardless of their age and health conditions. Out of ten, the risk factor is a solid ten.
How Do I Know if it’s too Hot to Walk My Dog?
It’s actually very easy to tell if it is too hot to take your dog for a walk, aside from taking a look at the current temperature outside. All you need to do is step onto the pavement completely barefoot. If it is too hot for you, it is definitely too hot for your dog. The pads of their paws are incredibly delicate, and hot pavements can cause serious damage.
One of the most common injuries to their feet is the heat from the pavement causing the skin on their paw pads to burn and peel, leaving painful open wounds in their place. It’s excruciating for the dog, and can easily be avoided by not taking your dog out in hot weather.
Even if you are only walking them on the grass, the heat can still be too intense and lead to conditions like heat stroke. Always follow the temperature guide in the previous section if you are unsure, as a dog that hasn’t been walked is far better than one that’s sick or dead from the heat.
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Is it Safe to Walk a Dog in Hot Weather?
Generally speaking, it is not safe to walk your dog in hot weather. This isn’t just because of the potential damage to their paws, but also due to the risk of heat stroke and dehydration. Hundreds of dogs are treated for heatstroke by emergency vets each year, and it can be avoided if you keep your pup out of the heat.
Much of the time, it is caused by owners exercising their dogs between 8am and 8pm each day – prime time for heatstroke to strike due to the high temperatures. But what are the symptoms you should be looking out for?
- Excessive panting
- Excessive drooling
- Reddened gums
- Fatigue and lethargy
- Uncoordinated movement
In severe cases, heatstroke can lead to death, and this is not something you want for your dog. Keep them hydrated, keep them cool, and don’t take them for a walk when it’s too hot outside. Dehydration is also a huge risk during summer, so make sure they have plenty of fresh water available at all times.
Read here : When can I walk my 8-12 week old puppy ?
What Temperature is Safe to Walk a Dog?
Anything below 20C is considered safe for you to walk your dog in. This is an ideal temperature range for walking, hiking, running, and any other activities that you and your dog enjoy. If in doubt, make sure you refer to our temperature guide so that you can continue to exercise your dog in a safe manner.
During the summer, it is best to go for a walk before 8 in the morning and after 8 in the evening. The air is much cooler during these hours as the early morning means that the sun hasn’t fully risen or that it has recently set. This allows you to exercise your pup without the health risks.
How to Keep Your Dog Safe During Hot Weather
There are several ways you can try to keep your dog safe during the hot summer weather. It’s essential that you keep your pup nice and cool to help prevent heatstroke and dehydration, so make sure you check out at least one of our top tips.
Make sure there is plenty of shade in the garden for them, and encourage your dog to go there to relax. Lay a blanket or put a bed there so that they feel comfortable and go there instead of direct sunlight. You should also ensure they come back inside regularly to avoid overheating.
Consider putting a paddling pool out for them so that they can splash around and cool off as they please. If you don’t have a paddling pool, you could also put the sprinklers on to provide them with a fun experience as well as helping them keep cool.
You can also get damp towels and place them on the floor for your dogs. This is actually an incredibly effective way of helping them to cool off without risking them getting too cold. It ensures that they are still able to regulate their body temperature safely and also avoids them overheating.
Of course, you will also need to ensure that full water bowls are available to them at all times. While it can be tempting to fill their bowl or a pool with ice, you should be careful doing this. This is because it can actually cause their core temperature to drop too low, making it difficult for them to properly regulate their own temperature.
Read Here: How to stop my dog from running off on walks
Can I Leave My Dog in the Car in Hot Weather?
No, you should never leave your dog in a car in hot weather – even in warm weather they should not be left alone. The temperature inside rises rapidly and becomes hotter than the outside, exceeding as much as 50C, mimicking an oven in many ways.
This is one of the leading causes of canine death in the summer, and if you are going to leave them in the car they are better off at home. Even having the windows cracked open barely does anything to help, and if your dog is in distress then it is legal for your car windows to be smashed in order to save them.
It’s easy to forget that our dogs don’t tolerate heat as well as we do a lot of the time. They might like to lounge in the sun in the garden, but that doesn’t mean they are capable of a full walk. Your dog won’t mind lazing around a little during the really hot weather, and it is both a safer and healthier option for each of you.
So, instead of going for an afternoon hike, why not set up a shady spot in the garden and relax together for a few hours instead? Dog owners rejoice, when it’s too hot to walk, settle down for some R&R with your best friend.
For over a decade, Adrienne has been a freelance content writer and blogger who’s passion lies in anything related to dogs. Growing up, dogs were a very important part of family life in the Hardwick household. Now, Adrienne is the proud parent to two Swedish Vallhunds called Moose and Pumpkin.