Many dog owners are not aware of just how easy it is for dogs to get heatstroke. Dogs are not very efficient at cooling off their bodies, and they can get overheated quite readily, especially if they are exerting themselves in the heat. You need to know when it is too hot to take your dog on a hike or a walk and when it is too hot to visit the dog park.
Knowing how to judge the ambient temperature to see if it is safe for your pet is important. There are some simple ways that you can ensure that your dog will not get heatstroke when they are outside. Being a responsible dog owner means verifying the conditions outside before you head out to have fun with your dog on a sunny day.
When is it Too Hot Outside for Dogs?
A good rule of thumb is to consider that any temperature above 75 degrees Fahrenheit is too hot for your dog. This is particularly true if they are going to be on the pavement, which can get quite hot in the sun and burn their feet. Most of your dog’s ability to cool themselves depends upon their feet staying cool, and hot pavement can have a very negative impact on your dog’s ability to stay cool.
Humidity can also impact the overall temperature, and you should consider high humidity as a risk factor when judging the temperature. If you think that you cannot be outside in a long-sleeved shirt without getting too hot, your dog will probably feel the same way.
The actual temperature that is risky for dog health is much lower than most people realize. This can be a big source of shock for many pet owners, which is why it’s so key to start paying attention to how hot the ground is and how high the humidity is on any given day.
Can My Dog Spend Time Outside When it is Hot?
Another problem that dog owners can run into is that their dog lives outside while they are away from home or at work. When the temperature is above 75 degrees, your dog is still at risk for heatstroke, even if they are just lying around and resting. Having shade available to your dog is essential if these conditions are required, and your dog will need to have unlimited access to water.
However, if the temperature is above 85 degrees Fahrenheit, your dog should still not be left outside. Your dog does not have to be exerting or be in the sun to get heatstroke when the temperature is this high. Dogs that have to spend time outside in the heat can get too hot slowly over time and still end up getting sick.
Health Risks Associated with Dogs Getting Overheated
Dogs are not efficient at cooling off. Your dog cools off by drinking water, panting, and sweating through the pads of their feet. This means that the heat, a lack of water, and exercise can lead to your dog getting too hot very fast. Dogs that have gotten too hot are at risk for heatstroke. This condition can be deadly in a matter of half an hour, which is why all pet owners should be working hard to protect their dogs from this health risk.
Dogs with heatstroke can be saved in many cases if they get to a veterinarian right away, but they might suffer long-term health problems related to their heatstroke event. They might also be more likely to get heatstroke again. Organ damage is another common side effect, and some dogs will be more likely to suffer from GI tract issues after they have had a heatstroke event.
For many dog owners, the thought of losing their dog due to the heat is not at the forefront of their minds when planning fun times with their dog in the sun. After all, you might not feel that hot since you can wear shorts and a t-shirt, along with shoes. However, it is quite risky to ask your dog to exert or even to spend time in the sun when the temperature is greater than 75 degrees Fahrenheit.
If you are worried about verifying the temperature when you don’t have a way to tell how hot it is in degrees, you can simply place your hand on the concrete and see if it’s too hot to be comfortable. If it is, your dog will burn their feet when they are spending time outside with you. Likewise, if you are not comfortable with long sleeves or pants on, your dog will probably be too hot outside as well. Keeping your dog inside, out of the sun, and with access to lots of water is always best if you think there is any risk that the weather is too hot to be safe for your dog.
Protecting Your Dog from the Heat is Essential
Since dogs can be quite sensitive to the heat, you should always be conservative when it comes to bringing your dog with you on outdoor adventures when it is quite hot out. Any time that it is more than 75 degrees out, your dog should stay home or at least be in the shade if they need to be outside. If it is eighty degrees or greater, your dog will need to stay inside where it is cool.
Knowing more about why it is important to take temperature into account is key to protecting your dog’s well-being. Dogs love to please us, and your dog will probably make you feel bad about not bringing them on outdoor adventures when it is hot out. However, the risks to your dog’s health are so significant that you should not give in to their pleading and take them with you when it is hot out. In many places, you will be able to play with your dog when the sun goes down, and the temperature comes down for the night.
Have questions for your veterinarian? Give Kryder + Harr Veterinary Clinic a call at (574) 277-6533!
Welcome to Kryder & Harr Veterinary Clinic! Our animal hospital has been a fixture in the Granger community since 1981, practicing full-service veterinary medicine for all our pet parents and their furry family members. At KHVC, we pride ourselves on our history, of providing excellent customer service for our clients, along with dedicated, compassionate, and exceptional medical care for all of our patients.