Summer is here and that means warmer weather - but how do you know when it's too hot for your dog?
In general if it's too hot for you, it's too hot for your furry pals, but some dogs can get heat stroke when it's as cool as 70F. It's also possible for your dog's paws to burn on hot pavement. Keep reading for tips to keep cool!
Heat Stroke Prevention - Know Your Numbers
Heat stroke happens when your dog is no longer able to regulate his or her body temperature, and ends up with a fever. If your dog seems disoriented or collapses while walking, get them to a vet right away. Do not attempt to shock your dog with ice. Applying cool wet towels is a better way to bring their temp down, and your vet will be able to help from there.
- There appears to be no danger of heatstroke for your dog when it's below 59F.
- Up to 66F is safe for most dogs, but watch out for higher risk animals who are obese or have underlying health issues, and flat faced breeds.
- From 66F to 73F it's best to not be too vigorous. Keep the walks nice and easy.
- Temperatures between 75F and 80F is potentially dangerous for most breeds. This is high risk weather for puppies, large breeds, obese dogs, flat faced dogs, and dogs with breathing difficulties.
- From 80F to 88F is potentially life threatening for the high risk dogs listed above, and very dangerous for all other dogs.
- Above 90F is really a no-go zone for all breeds.
Another danger for dogs in summer weather is getting their paws burned on the hot pavement. The general rule is that you should be able to touch the tarmack with the back of your hand, and hold it there for 5-10 seconds. If you're unable to hold it there that long then it's too hot for your dog.
Touching your dogs paws at home is a good way to get used to what they should feel like. Then you can touch them periodically during your walk and make sure they're not too hot.
How to Exercise in the Heat
- Keep walks short and/or during cooler times of the day.
- Plan on taking breaks in the shade. When your dog's panting decreases to almost nothing - break time is over.
- Bring water on longer adventures - no ice. Ice can constrict blood vessels too much which prevents cooling. In addition to drinking you can pour some on your pooch to cool them.
- Stay close to home - make sure you and your dog are not in danger of being far away in the event they become disoriented.
- Pay attention to your dog's behavior. If they act strangely, get them cooled off inside.
- Grass, shade, and water can be better places to play than pavement.
We're Here For You
Some of our products are great for dogs! If you dog has an underlying health condition, please be extra careful in the heat.
Resources and more tips
About the Author
Kat Powers L.Ac. is a licensed acupuncturist recognized by the Oregon State Medical Board and the National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine. She is passionate about patient advocacy and helping her patients understand alternative options. In her free time she enjoys bullet journaling and walks with her greyhound.