The UK is known to be cold so walking a dog should be fine but heatwaves happen everywhere, so how hot is too hot for dogs? Believe it or not, it can get too hot for dogs even in the UK. You must be aware of this and protect your pooch.
Now let’s dive in and see how hot is too hot for dogs and how to deal with it. We’ll see how dogs behave in hot weather and what signs they show when they may be in distress.
How hot is too hot for dogs?
Dogs, in general, have a body temperature higher than humans, so they feel warm much quicker than we do. They also don’t sweat enough to cool off when they overheat, so whatever small amount of sweat they make is not enough.
The fur that covers them makes the evaporation of sweat too fast and so only their paws get sweaty.
Any dog should be just fine going for a walk in temperatures up to about 19 degrees Celsius. Above that, you can start to run into trouble.
Aside from standard temperatures, other factors will affect how your dog feels in hot weather. Not all dogs are built the same and some may be more sensitive depending on, size, breed, and other medical complications they may have.
Be mindful that certain breeds are more in danger of suffering harm from heat than others. If you have a brachycephalic dog then they are very sensitive to heat. Mainly because of their breathing and inability to pant properly enough to cool off.
In this category of brachycephalic dogs, we mention the following:
- French bulldogs / Frenchies
- Shih Tzus
Hot air and hot pavement
You should consider a few things before you decide to take your dog out in hot weather. Hot air is one thing but it’s not the only thing to look out for. Sure your weather forecast may say it’s 21 degrees but the pavement could be even hotter.
Since your dog is closer to the ground and on all fours, they will feel the heat much more intensely. Usually, dog walkers use a trick to check the pavement’s temperature. Hold a hand out on the ground to sense how hot it is.
If you can’t stand it for more than a few seconds, about 5, then it’s way too hot. Keep in mind that your dog is basically walking barefoot in that heat. Doggy shoes will not help because even so, a dog still gets too hot if it is too hot outside.
How hot is too hot for dogs and what are the signs?
Not all dogs react the same and certain more seasoned dogs are more resilient. But there are a few ways to tell if your dog has difficulty with the heat. It’s important to know what the signs of heatstroke are to your dog so that you know when and how to act.
Dogs pant to cool off but excessive panting and whimpering can signal their discomfort. Panting regulates temperature by pushing moisture out through the mouth which evaporates and cools dogs off.
Mild heatstroke signs
Dogs can start drooling, exhibit lethargy and thirst, or even vomit or diarrhoea. Your dog does not have to check all these symptoms to have heatstroke and just one symptom is enough to signal discomfort.
Severe heatstroke signs
Very concerning symptoms of dog heatstroke you should be aware of are:
If this happens you need to urgently bring your dog to the vet. Get your dog in a cooler environment, or shade, and amp up the AC if you drive to the vet. Make sure to keep your dog hydrated.
How to help your dog during hot weather periods?
Hot weather does not mean the floor is lava for your dog constantly. There are some things you can do to help them cope.
First of all, keep your eyes on the weather forecast, and plan walks around it. Take your dog out for a walk earlier in the morning and later at night. This way you’ll catch cooler periods of the day.
If your dog needs a pee break midday, plan a route that has shade and don’t stay out too long.
Ensure your dog is hydrated enough. Sometimes you have a dog that refuses to drink, but there is a small trick to get it to drink.
Take one of their favourite treats and put it in the water bowl. In trying to get it your dog will lap up some water. Give your dog the treat as praise for drinking water.
Some dogs like ice cubes and if that is the case, it cools and hydrates your dog at the same time. Just don’t overdo it, one or two cubes a day is enough.
Don’t leave your dog in a hot car alone. If it’s hot then don’t take your dog in your car, because the car will get hot fast.
It’s important to know how to keep a dog cool in hot weather, so make sure you are prepared. Don’t go out in very hot weather, especially if you have a brachycephalic dog.
Plan your route and keep walks to early morning and late nights to take advantage of cooler hours.