Is dog walking safe when it's hot?
When is it too hot to walk a dog?
Dog experts say that it can be dangerous to walk a dog when the temperature is above 25 degrees Celcius. With that in mind, it's important to look at the whole picture when deciding if it's safe or not. For example, the location where you walk can make a difference, as a hot day in a shady park is different to a hot day at the beach. Humidity and direct sunlight can also play a part, too. Generally speaking, many dog experts is that it’s safe to walk a dog up to temperatures of around 20 degrees celsius.
Different dogs can have varying tolerance to hot weather. For example, breeds such as French Bulldogs and Pugs can really suffer in the heat, and should never be walked in hot weather. On the other hand, Kelpies may be more tolerant of warm days. Furthermore, older dogs, chronically sick dogs and young puppies can be very sensitive to extreme temperatures, both hot and cold. As such, you should always be cautious when walking a dog in summer and judge each situation individually.
Why is it dangerous to walk your dog on hot days?
It can be dangerous to walk a dog in hot weather because dogs easily overheat and become seriously unwell. As you may have noticed, dogs don’t always have an ‘off’ switch when they are playing or running around, and they don't always know when it's time to rest in the shade. Therefore, it’s up to the dog walker to use their judgement and avoid situations where a dog may suffer from heatstroke.
In addition to heatstroke, your dog’s paws can get a nasty burn from walking on warm surfaces during hot weather. In particular, pavement, sand and asphalt can be risky. A quick test to check if the ground is too hot for your dog: simply hold your palm onto the ground for 10 seconds. If it’s too hot for you, it’s too hot for your dog.
Tips for safe dog walking in hot weather
- Aim to walk your dog during cool times of the day. Early morning and evening is usually a safe bet.
- Always pack a full water bottle and portable dog bowl in your bag. Allowing your dog to drink from puddles and ponds may make it very sick, so stick with fresh water.
- Avoid exercising or training your dog vigorously when it’s hot.
- Be careful of sunburn on sunny days, especially if you own a dog with white fur or pink skin. Here are some sun safety tips.
- Look out for the signs of heatstroke.
- Remember to test your palm on the pavement for a few seconds before walking your dog.
- Walk on grass rather than on the road or pavement. These surfaces can retain a lot of heat late into the day.
- Consider a shorter or slower walk if you think the temperature will rise during your walk.
- If you can, stick to walking on shady paths or the shaded side of the street.
- Communicate with your dog walker about your concerns. It's a good idea to have a backup plan in case the weather is too warm, such as some indoor training, water play or cuddling on the couch.