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Have you ever wondered how hot is too hot for your dog?
However, take this as a rule of thumb as it will vary amongst individual dogs. Also, we can’t stress the importance of access to shade and water enough. It’s non-negotiable and keeping your dog comfortable during hot days is really, really important.
It’s also good to know that dogs may not always recognise that they are overheating. They keep going and will often chase after the ball as many times as their owner throws it. Dogs don’t step outside the house and a hot day and say ‘Oh, it’s a bit too warm for me today, I’ll stay home’.
That’s why dog owners need to educate themselves on how they can best protect their dogs from the heat. If you do take your dog outside on a hot day, adjust the outdoor activities to prevent your dog from overheating.
Yes, heat most definitely affects your dog. We, humans, sweat to regulate our body temperature, but it’s different for dogs. They don’t sweat but instead cool themselves primarily through panting.
Exercising your dog with outdoor activities on a hot day will increase their panting and make it harder for the dog to regulate their body temperature.
As we know, dogs are a social species who love the company of their owners, and heading out for a walk is often the highlight of their day. That’s why in hot weather, it’s best to walk dogs at dawn or dusk when it’s cooler.
If you have a puppy, an elderly dog, or if your dog is suffering from a chronic illness, it’s best to discuss this topic with your vet.
If you have a healthy adult dog, you can normally walk your dog in hot weather, but keep the following in mind:
Depending on the time of the day, even at just 25°C, walking on pavement can burn your dog’s paws. It’s important to understand that different types of surfaces absorb heat differently. Sidewalks get really hot because they not only soak up the heat but retain it as well.
Your dog’s paws can be just as sensitive as your feet. If you’re unsure if it’s too hot to walk your dog on pavement, there’s a simple test that you can do. Hold your hand down on the pavement for a few seconds. If you struggle to hold it down, it’s too hot for dogs to walk on asphalt.
If you find yourself in a situation where the outside temperature isn’t too hot, but the pavement is, you can carry or drive your dog to a natural grass area. Natural grass areas are a lot cooler than pavement, so it’s better to walk your dog on grass rather than asphalt on hot days.
Some people find dog strollers helpful to take their dogs places on hot days. They can help to protect your dog from sun rays and the hot pavement. Learn more about them here: Where to get Prams for Dogs in Australia
It really depends on multiple factors, such as the age and condition of your dog, as well as humidity amongst others, not just the outside temperature.
You want to make sure that the surface your dog is walking on isn’t too hot for their paws. Adjust the outdoor activities and don’t play any high energy games with your dog such as fetch.
If you go to the dog park, watch for signs of your dog being uncomfortable and break up games if your dog had enough. Heat can kill dogs, so if you have an elderly dog, a dog with a chronic illness, or are generally unsure, it’s always best to discuss the topic with your local vet.
Depending on your living circumstances, sometimes staying outside can be better than staying inside if it’s a scorching hot day. It really depends on how hot it gets inside your house though, and it’s more commonly recommended to leave dogs inside on hot days.
If you leave your dog outside, make sure your dog has plenty of access to shade and water. Be aware that the sun moves across the sky throughout the day. So, shaded areas may vary and it’s best to double-check that your dog can always escape the sun if they need to.
It depends on your dog, how humid it is, and where you can provide your dog with the most comfort.
For example, some dog owners may have a safe, well-shaded outdoor area where they can leave their dogs with plenty of water. Others may not have a suitable outdoor space but can leave their dog in a cool room inside the house (one that stays cool enough throughout the entire day).
If your outdoor area is fully paved and has no shade, temperatures above 24°C can be a problem already. So, it really depends. If you’re unsure about what’s best for your dog, ring your local vet to have a chat about it as they’re often experts on how to deal with heat-related issues in your area.
Yes, artificial grass can get too hot for dogs. This is because the surface temperature of artificial grass gets a lot higher than the surface temperature of natural grass. It’s important to consider this if you leave your dog outside on a synthetic lawn. Note that there are different types of artificial grass, and some get hotter than others.
Here are some tips to cool down your dog:
It may be tempting, but it’s probably not a good idea. If your dog has a double-coat like the Border Collie, Spitz or Terrier types, shaving your dog can make suffering from heat worse instead of better.
Double-coated means that those dogs have two layers of coat. The long guard hairs are on the outer layer and protect your dog from snow, ice and also shed water. The soft undercoat lies close to your dog’s skin and keeps them warm and dry.
During summer, your dog naturally sheds the soft undercoat, leaving only the outer coat, the guard hairs. Their job during summer is to protect your dog from sunburn and insulate them against the heat. If you shave that coat, it can change the coat texture, which can ruin the coat.
If you like having fun in the sun with your dog, you’re probably interested in participating in water based activities. These include swimming in the sea, swimming in lakes, retrieving objects from water, swimming in rivers, or simply biting at water that comes out of hoses.
There are some hazards to keep in mind when participating in water based activities with your dog during the summer, so let’s look at them one by one.
Swimming is a fantastic exercise for both humans and dogs and can be lots of fun. Be careful on hot summer days though, as sand can get extremely hot and uncomfortable. We wear flip-flops for a reason, and if the sand is too hot to walk on for you, it’s too hot for your dog too.
Yes and no, it depends on the precautions you take. Be cautious of rip tides and make sure your dog doesn’t drink seawater as this can cause vomiting, diarrhoea and dehydration. Bring lots of drinking water and provide your dog with plenty of water breaks.
When it comes to dogs swimming in lakes, it is important to make sure that the lake is not affected by Blue-Green Algae. It isn’t always easy to spot with the naked eye but can be fatal for our dogs.
It’s also important to be cautious when you throw items into the lake for your dog to retrieve. Sometimes there’s a risk of hidden branches. This can be dangerous when your dog jumps in a lake only to get stabbed or impaled on an upturned stick.
Dogs Swimming in Rivers
Rivers are a popular destination for dogs that love water. With rivers, the same risks apply to swimming in lakes. Additionally, you should also know that swimming can make dogs tired quickly, so be cautious of currents and steep river banks. It can be challenging for a dog to get back out if they’re already tired from their swim. Tired dogs can easily get swept away and into trouble.
On hot summer days, dogs often like to play with water that comes out of the garden hose. While this activity appears like lots of fun, it’s important to manage the amount of time your dog is doing it. When it’s never-ending, your dog can quickly get over-stimulated, and the increase in adrenaline in combination with hot weather can be a problem for heat regulation.
As dogs get excited, they also bite quicker and harder at the water, which often results in the water stream going straight down their throats. This is a risk for water getting in their lungs and stomach.
As responsible dog owners, we have to ensure the safety of our dogs. Managing their comfort in hot weather is our responsibility. It might feel like we are cruel when we’re limiting the fun they’re having, but it’s more important to protect our dogs.
There are plenty of things we can do to have a fantastic summer with our dogs while preventing our dogs from getting over-heated at the same time.
Keeping our dogs inside when it’s too hot outside, as well as providing them with lots of water and opportunities to cool off is just the right thing to do as a responsible dog owner.