There’s no exact rule as to what temperature is too hot for dogs, but most will be alright up to 90°F (32°C) as long as they have enough shade and water. Unlike us humans, dogs don’t sweat (except slightly through their paws) to regulate their body temperature, they pant instead. On particularly hot days all the panting in the world won’t be able to cool them down enough, which is why shade, water, and good ventilation are necessary.
So what can we do to help our pups stay cool in warm weather?
Whilst many dogs are okay in higher temperatures (up to 90°F) some are at risk of heatstroke in lower temperatures too. Brachycephalic dog breeds such as pugs or english bulldogs find it much harder to pant and regulate their body temperature that way. Even in temperatures of 75°F (23°C), they’re at risk of suffering from heatstroke. At these temperatures, they’ll need more shade and water and less exercise.
Dogs bred primarily for colder climates, such as Siberian Huskies, will also find it harder to cool down by panting. They have naturally thick coats which are great in the snow, but not so good in warm climates. It’s important that you don’t over-exercise big dogs, such as Huskies, when it’s hot as they’ll have a tougher time regulating their body temperature back down.
Whilst they don’t have such a problem cooling down, hairless dogs such as the Chinese Crested Dog, have their own issues when the temperatures soar. They’re really susceptible to sunburn, so make sure you keep them in the shade and out of the sun.
Older dogs and puppies also find it much hard to regulate their body temperature than other dogs. They should be kept in the shade or indoors (if it’s well ventilated) and exercise should be reduced to a minimum.
Unhealthy dogs, such as those with an illness or those that are overweight, will suffer more in the heat than healthy dogs. Just like with older dogs, keep them in the shade with plenty of cool water to prevent heatstroke.
What to do when the temperature gets too hot for a dog?
When possible you should walk your dogs at the coolest point of the day, so dusk and dawn. Dogs aren’t particularly good at knowing when they’re overheating, so reducing their exercise will help them stay cool when it gets hot.
Something else to think about when considering what temperature is too hot for a dog is where you walk them. Doggie paws are sensitive and can burn if they walk on a sidewalk that’s too hot. A general rule of thumb is that if you wouldn’t walk there barefoot, don’t let them. Try to walk through fields or close to water sources where it’s a bit cooler.
How to keep your pup cool
Now that you know how hot is too hot for dogs, you need to know how to help them keep cool. Keep them in the shade as much as possible and give them plenty of water – you could even add ice cubes to it to keep it colder longer.
You might want to fill up a kiddie pool with a little water so your pup can cool himself down that way. Another possibility is laying cold, wet towels down in the shade for them to lay on. If you’d prefer, you can also use a cooling dog bed or mat.
The most important thing is to keep an eye on your dog when it’s hot outside. It might seem a bit mean to not play with them, let them run, or take them for walks during the day, but ensuring they’re healthy is more important than them playing catch on a hot day.
If you notice any signs of heatstroke in your pup, such as excessive panting, vomiting, or even loss of consciousness you must ring your vet right away. Most cases of heatstroke can be avoided by following the above points!
Do you have any tips to keep your dogs cool when it’s hot outside? Let us know below!
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