Most dogs love summertime and to dog owners, it seems most practical to take their dogs out on a walk when the fields are green and the sky is clear as opposed to taking them on snowy or rainy days.
However, as the days get hotter with time, it is important to understand that dogs do not have a great cooling mechanism and tend to get overheated sooner than humans do. It can be fatal if not taken care of properly.
This is why dog owners must know when is it too hot to walk dogs on pavement, how to check the temperature, and how to protect their dog from heat strokes and overheating.
Read the guide below for an in-depth answer to all your questions.
How Can You Tell if it is too Hot to Walk Your Dog on Pavement?
There are a number of ways to know if the dog’s exercise for the day is to be conquered or rescheduled and one of them includes the ‘seven second test’.
With the back of your hand, touch the sunny side of the pavement and hold it for seven seconds. If it is too hot for your hand to bear, it is definitely too hot to handle for your dog’s paw.
As a general rule of thumb, dogs can bear temperatures up to 68F, given that there is a light breeze outside and humidity levels are normal.
Doing a heat test on the pavement as a precautionary measure is important even when the weather seems nice enough and the air is pleasant outside because the ground is generally hotter than the environment.
Besides a general heat test, it is also important to research on the heat tolerance levels of your dog breed since some dogs like huskies enjoy sunbathing and can adjust to temperatures better.
Tips to Keep in Mind When Taking Your Dog Out for a Walk in the Summer
Since dogs do require some kind of exercise daily, they cannot be kept at home or sent to doggy daycare for the rest of the summer.
Going on a walk helps dogs stimulate their physical as well as mental muscles. They get to interact with other dogs in the area, release their bowels, and keep their body in shape.
Still, when the sun’s too hot to bear, it can be quite challenging for the dog owner to fulfil their dog’s needs. That is why we have compiled a few tips below that will help you take your dog out in the summers without any worries.
Amend Their Schedule
The best time of day to walk your dog in the summer is in the evening when the sun has set and the ground has cooled down. As dogs do not absorb Vitamin D from the sun, exposure isn’t as essential to their body as it is to humans. So, evenings or early mornings work perfectly fine for their walks.
Keep it Hydrated
If you plan to take a longer walk or let the dog accompany you on a hike, it is essential that you keep adequate bottles of fresh water for it to drink from. Dogs can get dehydrated pretty fast and it can be fatal at times, too.
Water from roadside ponds, lakes, and oceans is not healthy for your dog and can lead to them getting sick and an unnecessary trip to the vet.
Do Not Leave Them Alone
Though it isn’t recommended to take a walking route far from home in the summers, if you do plan to take your dog shopping, hiking, or even travelling, always remember to keep the air conditioning on, pack fresh water, and never leave them alone in a vehicle even when it seems alright.
Dogs can get anxious in new places and when left alone can cause harm to themselves and others. Not to mention, the temperature in a vehicle can be much hotter than outside. Even with a window cracked to let in fresh air, it is not advised to leave your pooch alone in your car.
Take the Temperature
Besides doing a general heat test of the pavement, make sure to pack a thermometer, especially for dog breeds like cocker spaniels that overheat fast.
What to Do if Your Dog Gets Overheated?
When a dog gets overheated, it’ll pant excessively as if they just came back from a run and will have a thick, sticky drool to cool down. Also, their heartbeats will be abnormally fast even if they are just strolling in the sun.
In severe cases, overheated dogs can have heatstroke, get disoriented, vomit frequently, take abnormal amounts of naps, and even collapse on the ground.
So what can you do if your dog does get overheated? First, take them to a shaded area, preferably back home. Then, when it seems to calm down, gradually bathe them with cool water, not chilled, until their temperature reaches 103°. Fan them to dry and offer them plenty of water to drink.
If their paws seem to be reddened, swollen, blistered or worse, charred, run them immediately under cool water, cover them up with cloth, and take your dog to the vet as soon as possible.
The American Kennel Club recommends protecting the dog’s paws with dog shoes, dog-friendly moisturisers, and walking them in cool weather to toughen their paw pads. Make sure the shoes do not fit too snug where it will numb their paws or too loose that they fall off while walking.
Dogs are highly active animals and need their daily exercise to keep their body in shape, their mind stimulated, as well as their dog-to-dog interaction intact.
Though walking your dog in the summer may seem too risky, there are ways that can help you balance their exercise regimen as well as keep them cool and healthy.
In this guide we have shown how to tell when is it too hot to walk dogs on pavement, helped you make a checklist of tips to walk your dog in the summers, as well as take care of them when they get overheated.