Understanding and Caring for your dog in hot weather – Part 2

Stay inside

If possible, bring outside dogs inside on hot days and if you have air conditioning in your house, leave it on during the day even if your dog is home alone.  There is no ideal temperature that applies for all dogs, but most begin to show signs of overheating between 27 – 30 degrees Celsius / 81 and 85 degrees Fahrenheit. If temperatures are likely to rise into this range, keep the air conditioner on and set it between 25 – 26 degrees Celsius / 78 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit.


This is especially important when the weather is humid. The moisture in the air makes it harder for your dog to cool down by panting.  If your basement, a laundry or bathroom is cool and comfortable, having your dog spend time in these locations is also a good idea.

Note: older and obese dogs, as well as dogs with medical problems like lung or heart disease should be kept inside with air-conditioning if possible as they are more susceptible to overheating problems.


If you can’t let them inside, ensure they have a cool, shady hideaway and plenty of clean, fresh water.  If you don’t have any shade you could purchase a dog kennel or buy a sunshade, or you can make a canopy with a thin blanket.  Just make sure it provides shade no matter where the sun shining is during the day.


 The right time for a walk and/or playtime

Avoid midday walks or playtime. Take your dog for its walk early in the morning and at night when the air is cooler but never after a meal or when the weather is humid.  If it is especially hot and/or humid, it may be better to skip the walk or game entirely.


Choose shady, cool places to go for walks. You will both benefit from a cooler walking area. The presence of sea or river breezes can make an area a good choice for walking, if you live near such a place.


Bring water along on walks. When you take your dog out on a hot day, bring water for both you and your dog. If your dog is panting or seems sluggish, stop in a shady area to offer your dog water.  If the dog won’t drink, you can pour the water over its body.


Carry your dog’s toys (tennis ball, Frisbee etc.) back for them. Why? When your dog has been chasing a ball or tugging on a rope for the past 30 minutes, she can’t cool down and release all that heat by panting well, if she has to carry her toy back home, which may lead to overheating.

Never leave your dog in a car


For countries who work in Celsius see the following conversion table

Outside Temp (ºC) Inside Temp C
10 mins 30 mins
21ºC 31 ºC 40 ºC
23 ºC 34 ºC 43 ºC
26 ºC 37 ºC 45.5 ºC
32 ºC 43 ºC 51 ºC
35 ºC 45.5 ºC 59 ºC

Many people think it’s ok to leave their dog in a car if they leave the window down, DO NOT do this. Cars can be death-traps for dogs, even with the windows open. A car can go from comfortable to oven-like in minutes, and don’t think that a cloudy day or parking in the shade reduces the risks. The sun moves during the day and clouds can actually magnify the heat.


Even if you leave water in the car it is not enough to cool your dog! Even if you’re only going to be a few minutes out of your car, don’t leave your dog – temperatures can soar very quickly – Don’t take the risk!  You could also get in trouble with animal welfare and the police.


If you are taking your dog along in the car be sure to leave windows open for your dog while traveling in the car, and always bring some water with you.  For long trips, you will need to take at least 5 litters / 1 gallon bottle(s) of cool water for him. Use your car’s air conditioner to keep the temperature of the moving car under 75 degrees. If your car does not have air conditioning, leave your dog at home when it is extremely hot outside.


Know how fit your dog is

Take your dog to the vet for a full check-up before summer starts. Mosquitoes are very active in summer and carry the larvae for heartworm. If you haven’t started your dog on heartworm medication, get him tested and cleared to start preventatives right away. Fleas and ticks can also be a problem, so check with your vet for an effective flea and tick control.


Burning paws

Avoid letting your dog’s paws touch a hot pavement.  Pavements can get very hot in the summer and walking on it can burn your dog’s sensitive paws.  Let your dog roam on grass if it’s possible, and keep exposure to pavements at a minimum.


To test whether the pavement is safe for your dog to walk on, lay the flat of your palm on the ground. If it burns, keep your dog off the pavement or put a pair of booties on her paws. If you cannot hold your hand on the pavement for at least 15 seconds, do not take your dog out for that walk until the sidewalk has cooled.



Bringing your dog to the surf and sand of the beach is fine, as long as you can ensure they will have shade when needed it and plenty of clean, fresh water. If your dog likes to take a dip in the ocean, be sure to wash him off with fresh water as soon as possible as salt water can be rough on the coat and skin.


Cooling Pad

There are many different pads you can buy that are designed to keep dogs cool. Most of them are filled with a gel that draws the heat out from your dog’s body.  You can also just lay a damp towel on the ground for your dog to lie on.  You can put some ice cubes under the towel too, or sew 2 towels together leaving one end open so you can insert ice cubes in the towel.


If your dog won’t lie on the towels maybe make them a wet towel cape/smock as seen in the picture above.

Misha@Zeus5 - Copy.jpg

Clip your dog’s fur

This is especially important for dogs with thick, long coats. Be aware, though, that sometimes the fur will take a long time to grow back after it has been clipped.  Take care that you or your groomer does not go shorter than one inch – don’t shave your dog completely. Leaving skin exposed can increase the chances of sunburn.


What else?

Summer also brings dangers in the form of insecticides, weed sprays, and snail baits, to name a few, so watch out for these hazards in your own yard and on your walks.


Never use insecticides or sun-protection products that have not been approved for use in dogs. Many of these products contain ingredients (DEET in mosquito spray, for instance) that can cause serious problems when they are ingested or absorbed through the skin.


Radiator coolants and engine fluids leaking from cars are especially dangerous. They are sweet tasting and just a small amount can cause serious injury or death. If you think your animal may have ingested these or any other poisons, call your vet immediately.


Open windows can also be a hazard. Dogs may get excited and push out screens or jump out of windows if they see other dogs or people having fun outside. Second-story windows should be off limits to your furry friends.

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