When is it too hot to walk a dog? That’s a question many pet owners have during the hot season because elevated temperatures can stress dogs and even cause troublesome health issues.
In this article, we’ll discuss temperatures that are too hot to walk a dog in. We’ll also provide some tips to help you take your dog outside in the hot weather. So, keep reading for all the details!
When Is It Too Hot to Walk a Dog?
As a rule of thumb, temperatures up to 68ºF (20°C) are generally safe for dog walks. Anywhere that exceeds 85ºF (29°C) exposes your pet to various heat-related health issues, including canine heat stroke and dehydration.
The hot weather can also cause tissue damage to the paws and result in painful blisters. Aside from temperature, you should take into account other weather conditions like humidity when walking your dog.
Generally, dogs prefer a relative humidity between 30% and 50%, and some breeds can even tolerate higher percentages. However, areas with humidity levels higher than 70% increase the risk of heatstroke.
Is 90 Too Hot for a Dog Walk?
Yes, temperatures of 90ºF (32ºC) and above are too hot for a dog walk. That’s especially true if it’s humid as well.
In dry, breezy conditions, you can take your dog for a morning walk in the shade. That’s as long as your dog is tolerant of hot climates. Such breeds are usually hairless and short. They also have small or medium builds.
Still, it’s best to avoid walking heat-tolerant dogs in warm climates to reduce the risks of heatstroke.
What Temperature Should Dogs Not Walk In?
Generally, you should avoid strolling with your dog at temperatures lower than 42ºF (5ºC) and higher than 85ºF (29°C). As mentioned earlier, the latter causes heat stress and dehydration in your dog.
Signs of a heat-stressed dog include:
- Excessive panting and salivation
- Anxiety and restlessness
- Generalized weakness
If left untreated, heat stress can lead to your dog developing heatstroke. The latter condition is potentially fatal unless immediate action is taken.
How Long Can a Dog Walk in 90-degree Weather?
You shouldn’t walk your dog in 90-degree (32ºC) weather. However, if you have to, limit the walk duration to 15 minutes. Any period longer than that increases the risk of overheating.
Of course, you shouldn’t walk your dog on asphalt pavements. Those materials absorb and store heat more than natural surfaces, such as grass. Consequently, it can lead to burns on your dog’s paw pads.
Also look for shade to walk beneath, take lots of rests in the shade, and provide water at regular intervals.
You might like to read our post, How Much Water Should Your Dog Drink: (With Chart!)
How Do You Walk a Dog in 100-degree Weather?
You should avoid walking your canine friend at 100 degrees (37ºC). However, you can still work your way around the hot climate if it persists for a while.
Here are a few tips to help you walk your dog in elevated temperatures:
- Plan your dog walks early in the morning or late evening, as the weather during those periods is cooler than in the middle of the day.
- Choose a route with lots of shade to prevent your dog from overheating due to direct sunlight.
- Walk on grass instead of pavements.
- Take shorter strolls with multiple breaks.
- Provide cool, fresh water to your dog to keep him hydrated.
What Temperature Is too Hot for Dog Paws?
Generally, temperatures higher than 85ºF (29ºC) are too hot for your dog’s paws. In fact, if you’re walking your dog on asphalt, lower temperatures of about 77ºF (25ºC) can cause skin damage to your pet.
As mentioned earlier, asphalt stores heat and takes a while to cool down. At 77ºF (25ºC), the artificial surface reaches a temperature of 125ºF (51ºC), which is enough to burn skin tissues.
Temperatures at 85ºF (29ºC) or above heat asphalt to 135ºF (57ºC). The former is enough to fry an egg in 5 seconds, let alone your puppy’s sensitive paws.
What Temperatures Can Dogs Tolerate?
As mentioned earlier, dogs can generally go for a walk at temperatures up to 85ºF (29ºC).
However, some factors can make dogs extra sensitive to warm weather and unable to tolerate high temperatures. Those include breed type, thick fur, obesity, health problems, and age.
Let’s discuss each factor in further detail!
Brachycephalic, or short-nosed, dogs are more sensitive to high temperatures compared to other dogs. Common breeds that belong to the former category include pugs, Pekinese, Lhasa Apso, Boston terriers, English bulldogs, boxers, and Neapolitan mastiffs.
Now, you might wonder why flat-nosed breeds are more sensitive to high temperatures. That’s because brachycephalic dogs have a hard time panting.
Why Do Dogs Pant?
For those who don’t know, canines can’t sweat like humans to cool down. They only have sweat glands in their paw pads, but those aren’t sufficient to lower body temperature in hot conditions.
That’s when panting comes in handy. Dogs rely on short, quick breath movements to cool their bodies.
So, how does panting work?
When dogs breathe quickly, the moisture on their tongues, nasal cavity, and lungs’ lining evaporates thanks to air passage over the moist tissues.
As a result, the cool air lowers their body temperature—cooling takes place when moisture evaporates. That explains why sweating from the paws is more efficient than the body, as the fur would prevent the former process from happening.
As you might have guessed, double-coated dogs with thick fur are more susceptible to heat strokes than short-haired and hairless breeds. Breeds that have the former coat type include huskies, golden retrievers, Labradors, and shepherds.
Aside from coat thickness, color also plays a role in heat tolerance. The darker a dog’s fur is, the more light it absorbs. Since light is a form of energy, it heats the body, increasing its temperature.
For that reason, black and dark brown-coated dogs are at a higher risk of heat stress than light-colored dogs. On that note, some dog owners shave their pets’ fur to help them adapt to hot weather. However, that practice can do more harm than good.
You see, dog coats provide insulation. On hot summer days, the hair deflects heat to maintain low body temperatures. In contrast, dog coats capture air to prevent the cold from reaching the skin and hold heat to keep your pup warm during the cold months.
So, shaving that insulation layer risks heatstroke in summer and hypothermia in winter. Not to mention, shaving can cause follicle damage, resulting in uneven hair growth and a patchy appearance.
Obese dogs might be at a higher risk of heat stress and other high-temperature-related illnesses. That’s because overweight pets contain more fatty tissues.
As you might have known, fats are poor heat conductors, which makes them excellent insulators.
What’s more, any form of physical exercise generates heat since it increases the heart rate. Combine that with the insulation properties of fat, and you can expect obese dogs to have a hard time cooling down in the summer.
Both puppies and senior dogs are less tolerant of hot temperatures. Since young dogs are energetic, they can overexert themselves while playing.
The problem is that puppies can’t regulate their body temperature well, so all the energy produced from jumping around can cause overheating.
Likewise, elderly dogs can’t cool their bodies down. They’re also more susceptible to underlying health conditions, like heart diseases. Consequently, they’re at greater risk of developing heatstroke.
Does Putting Water on Dogs’ Paws Cool Them Down?
Putting water on a dog’s paws can help cool them down slightly, but it’s ineffective for reducing your pet’s body temperature if he is overheated.
To lower your dog’s body temperature, simply fill a spray bottle with water and mist your dog’s body, including his belly.
How Do I know if My Pavement Is Too Hot for My Dog?
If the pavement feels too hot to you, it’s likely too hot for your puppy, as well. Simply place your hands on the ground; if you can’t hold them for five seconds, the pavement is too hot.
You can also observe your dog’s behavior. If your pet is hesitant to walk on the ground, that could be a sign that the pavement is scorching. So, it’s best to provide your dog with protective footwear to prevent burns.
So, when is it too hot to walk a dog?
Generally, temperatures up to 68ºF (20ºC) are safe for dog walks. Walking your dog at temperatures higher than 85ºF (29ºC) may put your dog at risk of heatstroke.
To reduce the chances of heat stress in summer, plan the walks early in the morning or late evening. Additionally, walk your dog for no longer than 15 minutes. Don’t forget to take multiple breaks and provide your pet with cool, fresh water to maintain proper hydration.
That way, you protect your dog from elevated temperatures and enjoy dog walks in the summer!