Summer is here and the sun is out in full glory, but how do these high seasonal temps impact our
dogs? If it’s rough on us humans, just imagine how our sensitive fury friends are feeling!
So, how do we know when it’s too hot for dogs? Although every pup is different, most dogs can tolerate and enjoy walks and playtime at temperatures up to 75 degrees.
Read on to learn more about when it is too hot for your pup, as well as tips to keep them cool this summer!
Test the Blacktop, Asphalt, or Concrete
A good rule of thumb is to test the heat of the asphalt or concrete where the dog would be walking.
To do this, simply place the back of your hand against the pavement for up to 5 seconds.
If the heat is comfortable for your hand, it will also be safe for doggy paws. If it is hot to the touch, leave that pup indoors as the pavement can burn the pads on your dog’s paws!
Check The Humidity
Dogs sweat differently than us, as they sweat through their paws rather than their skin. On top of this, they are always wearing a heavy fur coat. As a result, high levels of humidity can make your dog feel very hot and uncomfortable.
Furthermore, humidity also affects dogs differently than humans, as they are much more sensitive to humid conditions than us. If the forecast is calling for high humidity, be sure to keep your pup indoors as much as possible!
Physical factors such as size, breed, and age can affect how your pup handles heat as well.
Dogs that are larger in size do not handle heat as well as small and medium sized dogs. Larger dogs may have more trouble moving around, and may overheat more quickly than their smaller counterparts.
Breed has a lot to do with how our pups handle warm weather too. Some breeds, such as Pugs, French bulldogs and English bulldogs have flatter snouts. As a result, they may have more difficulty breathing than other regular-snouted breeds.
Difficulty breathing mixed with high temperatures do not mesh well, so be sure to keep an eye on your flat-snouted pups!
Both puppies and senior dogs should be monitored closely in the heat, too. Puppies aren’t typically used to hot conditions yet, and older dogs may have trouble breathing and moving around in the heat.
Older dogs often have more health conditions, and the heat can put a ton of stress on their body and organs.
Things To Look Out For
When our pups are exposed to heat for too long, they can develop heat stroke and heat rashes. Be on the lookout for these symptoms!
Warning signs for possible heat stroke include difficulty breathing, heavy drooling, excessive thirst,
increased heart rate, rapid panting, and confusion or weakness. Some dog breeds, such as pugs and bulldogs, are more susceptible to heat stroke.
If you think your pup might be suffering from heat stroke, please seek veterinary assistance
immediately. For best results, intervene at the first signs of heat stroke and do not depend on your
pet to tell you! Dogs do not easily show pain, so it’s vital that we are mindful to catch the symptoms so action can be taken immediately.
Heat rash is another issue to look out for during the summer months. It’s fairly common with dogs
and can be quite irritating for them. Some common symptoms include redness, scabbing, itchiness,
persistent scratching or licking, and foul odors. Your doggo might require extra monitoring if they are of a breed with folding skin, such as the beautiful Shar-Pei.
If your pup is experiencing a heat rash, go the extra mile and make sure they are feeling cool, clean and refreshed. If it persists, seek veterinary assistance before it gets worse. There are many topical treatments to offer alleviation to our dog friends.
How to Stay Prepared
There are many things that we can do as dog owners to make sure our beloved pup is prepared for the summer heat.
Avoid the Hottest Parts of the Day
Just because the forecast is calling for heat, doesn’t mean that your pup has to stay locked inside all day and night. Utilize the cool periods of the day, such as the early morning or later in the evening, to bring the pup out for a walk or to play.
Get Your Pup a Haircut
This hot weather may have us wondering if our dogs would benefit from a haircut. This is a great
option for some dog breeds, however it’s actually detrimental for some dogs.
Dogs with double coats, such as the Bernese Mountain dog and Siberian Husky, use their double coats for warming and conducting a cooling process. To avoid overheating, make sure to keep double coated dogs all natural!
Always reach out to your veterinarian with any questions regarding your dog’s furry coat!
Have a Plan
When at home, make sure to have a back-up plan ready in case of emergency power outages.
It’s best to ensure water is handy, as well as ways to keep the indoor air cool. Avoid time spent in dog houses or any place with restrictive airflow. When in doubt, just take it easy. Know your dog and keep an eye out for any irregular behavior, as it could be a sign that your pup is too hot.
The heat and your beloved pup do not mix! Excessive exposure to heat can cause serious problems to dogs. Luckily, with a little bit of planning, we can keep our pups safe during the summer months.
Remember to always check the air temperature, humidity, and surface (blacktop, asphalt, concrete, etc.) temperature that your pup will be walking on. Also be aware that the size, breed, and age of your dog will determine how well they can or cannot handle the heat.
DO NOT spray pets with a hose that has been lying in the sun. The water can easily scald them!
Always be on the lookout for signs of heat exhaustion or heat rash during the summer months. Finally, it is good to be prepared and have a plan when the weather gets hot.
If you have any questions or concerns, reach out to Caring Hearts Animal Hospital at 704-893-2799 or set up an appointment today!