When is it too hot to walk a dog? Signs your pet could be developing heat stroke and how to keep them cool

Heat stroke in dogs can be fatal in as little as 15 minutes so it’s important you keep them safe when temperatures rise

The weather has really been heating up throughout June, with record breaking temperatures of up to 34°C being reached earlier in the month.

The soaring temperatures mean we’re all trying to keep cool, and the same can be said for our pet pooches.

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Unlike us humans, they can’t make certain choices according to the weather and how warm it is - they have to wear their full fur coat all year round.

So, we need to do what we can to help keep them comfortable and cool.

As part of that, we need to make a daily decision about whether or not to take them out for a walk.

Walks are usually an important part of most dog’s daily routine, but there may be instances when it’s best to keep them off their lead and indoors.

So, just how do you know when it’s too hot to take your dog for a walk?

Here’s what you need to know.

This is how you know when it’s too hot to take your dog for a walk.

When is it too hot for dogs?

It’s generally safe to walk your dog in temperatures of up to 19°C (68°F), according to emergency pet care service Vets Now.

You need to be careful, however, when the mercury rises above this.

Vets Now says that heat related illness are always preventable, so it’s important you know when your beloved pet could be at risk.

Even at temperatures as low as 20°C (70°F), which we humans don’t consider to be particularly hot, dogs are at risk of heat stroke.

Vets for Now believe there is a six out of ten risk that a dog could develop heat stroke if you take them out for a walk when temperatures are between 20°C and 23°C.

This increases to eight out of ten if the temperature is between 24°C and 27°C, nine out of ten if the temperature is between 28°C and 31°C and ten out of ten if the temperature rises to 32°C or above.

The level of danger to each dog does vary somewhat according to their age, size and appearance. For example, larger breeds, puppies and those with flat faces may find the temperatures the most difficult to deal with but the message from Vets Now is clear - heat can be dangerous to all dogs.

What is heat stroke in dogs?

Heat stroke in dogs is a high temperature which is not caused by a fever.

It occurs when dogs are no longer able to self-regulate and keep their temperature at a comfortable level.

What can the effects of heat stroke be in dogs?

Heat stroke can cause dogs to have a significant increase in thirst, become generally weak and pant excessively.

At its most extreme, heat stroke in dogs can be fatal in as little as 15 minutes.

What are the warning signs that my dog is getting too hot?

When you do take your dog out for a walk during warmer weather, it’s important to keep an eye on them to make sure they are not overheating.

There are various warning signs that your pooch may be becoming too warm.

They include:

  • Heavy panting
  • Red eyes
  • Red gums
  • Hot skin
  • Reduced activity
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhoea
  • Collapsing

What should I do if I think my dog has heat stroke?

If you think your dog has heat stroke, contact your vet immediately or, if out-of-hours, find your nearest emergency vet.

When is it best to walk my dog?

Vets Now advise that when the weather is warm you should avoid walking your pet dog between 8am and 8pm as this is when temperatures are at their peak.

You should always consider the conditions on a day-to-day basis, however. For example, the humidity and breeze - or lack thereof - can impact decisions around whether or not to take your dog out for a walk.

Pet owners are advised to step on a pavement themselves barefoot before setting off for a walk too, as if it’s too warm for us humans to stand then it will be too hot for pets too.

How can I keep my dog cool when temperatures rise?

There are lots of things you can do to keep your dog cool on hot summer days, from building an outdoor shelter in the shade to keeping them groomed, according to pet charity PDSA.

They are:

  • Encourage your pet to stay hydrated by placing bowls around your home and garden.
  • Stick to the shade when you are outside with your dog.
  • Let them play in a shallow paddling pool, but keep an eye on them to ensure safety.
  • Create a cool room for your pooch indoors by setting up a fan and closing curtains.
  • Invest in gadgets to help keep them cool such as a cooling mat.
  • Groom your dog regularly as removing loose hair can help keep them cool.
  • Exercise early or late if you do take them for a walk, and keep walks short.