Health & Wellness
How hot is too hot for dogs?
Sometimes fun in the sun becomes unsafe
Many people associate heat stroke in dogs with pets sitting in cars, but the truth is that it can happen in your backyard. If the temperature is uncomfortable for people, then the same goes for dogs. Use extra caution outside when temperatures are above 75 degrees Fahrenheit, especially if you’re walking your dog. However, there are a couple of additional factors to consider when deciding how long your pup can play outside. Dr. Aliya McCullough, veterinarian and pet health advocate, has tips for keeping pets safe in warmer temperatures.
(Check out our cold weather guide, too, to learn how to keep your pet safe on the chilly days.)
The size of your pup has a lot to do with how safe it is for them to be in hot climates. Large dogs should be monitored more frequently than small-to-medium-sized dogs. Let’s say it’s 70 degrees Fahrenheit (around 21 degrees Celsius) — it’s not risky for small-to-medium-sized dogs to play outside, but it is potentially unsafe for large dogs if they’re not supervised.
To make your decision about outdoor fun easier, we created a Hot Weather Safety Chart.
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When using our chat to determine how safe it is for your pup to be outside, add a point if your pet has a shorter snout (like a pug or Boston Terrier). Flatter snouts make it harder to breathe in hot weather.
Is your dog overweight? If so, being exposed to warmer temperatures could be risky. Add a point when referencing the chart to determine safety.
Older dogs may find it harder to move around and get out of the sun, especially if they have mobility restrictions. Puppies are at risk, too, because they’re not fully accustomed to the hot temperature. Add a point to the number on the chart above if your pup is elderly or younger than 6 months.
Humidity plays a big role in outdoor safety because it makes the temperature feel much hotter than it is. As always, if it’s uncomfortable for you to be outside, it’s most likely uncomfortable for your dog.
Accommodate your pup
On hotter days, always make sure there’s water and plenty of shaded areas for your dog, and know when it’s time for them to come inside. Monitor your pup if you decide to let them have an afternoon nap outdoors, as dogs can sometimes sleep so hard that they end up overheating if they don’t relocate.
You may be surprised to learn that swimming can cause your dog to overheat. If you ever consider allowing your dog to jump in the pool to cool off, ask your vet if it’s OK first. The ideal water temperature should be above 70 degrees Fahrenheit, if your vet gives the green light.
Your dog needs outdoor playtime. So, when the heat rises, be their best advocate. Our tips on warm weather safety will keep your pup feeling good and having fun all summer long.
Photo by Kojirou Sasaki on Unsplash