Pups love to play outdoors and have a lot of energy to burn. Unfortunately, many pooches don't know when to stop playing. When the temperatures start to climb, dog owners must consider an important question: How hot is too hot for dogs? When our pets get too warm, they are at risk for overheating and heatstroke.
Puppies and senior dogs are two age groups that need close attention in warm climates and hot weather. Puppies are young and want to play until they drop, even in cooler temperatures. Since young pups have a smaller body mass, their body temperature can quickly rise, causing them to overheat. Older dogs are also extra sensitive to high temperatures. Since their bodies are aging, they cannot handle drastic weather changes. Even a short walk on a warm day can be taxing for an older pup and increase its risk of heatstroke. To help understand how hot is too hot for dogs, WideOpenPets.com spoke with the veterinarians at Small Door. Read on for tips to keep your pups safe and cool!
Keeping Dogs Safe and Cool
While dogs can adjust to various climates, if the outside temperature is 80 degrees Fahrenheit or more, dog owners need to consider how comfortable their dog will be. Asphalt is often between 40 to 60 degrees warmer than the outside temperature. Dogs' paws can burn easily on hot pavement, so walks should be taken in the early morning or late evening, before the sun makes everything too hot.
Hot temperatures can affect your pup's body temperature, raising it to the point where they become overheated.
"If it's too hot outside for you as a human to be comfortable, it's likely the same for your pup," explains Small Door's veterinary staff. "Remember, they're also wearing a fur coat!" Even though pups have heavy coats, they also have their own cooling mechanisms. For some dogs, their double coats also help regulate their body temperature. However, most of the time, panting helps lower a dog's temperature.
Small Door's veterinary staff also cautions pet owners to keep a close eye on their pups and behaviors. "If your dog is panting excessively, drinking more water than usual, or seems uncharacteristically lethargic when outside, it's likely time to bring your pup inside and place them near a fan to cool down," they warn.
Limit your dog's time outside in the elements to prevent heat exhaustion from setting in, and never, ever leave dogs in a hot car.
Signs of Heatstroke in Dogs
Each dog has a different temperature threshold. Brachycephalic breeds like French bulldogs and pugs have difficulty breathing in warm weather because of their short snouts. However, other dog breeds, such as huskies and other long-haired pups, can have a difficult time in the heat. Size and age are two big factors, too. It is too hot for your dog if they are panting excessively, drooling, have increased thirst, and are lethargic. Heat exhaustion starts to set in when they begin to vomit, have diarrhea, and exhibit a bright red tongue and gums.
You need to see a vet immediately if your dog begins to stumble, collapse, or lose consciousness. Seizures may also occur if your dog's temperature gets too high. If you are unsure if your pup is overheated, take their temperature. If their temperature is 104 degrees or higher, you need to cool down your pup. Get them some cool water, a wet towel, or a cooling mat, and give your vet a call as soon as possible.
How do you keep your pup cool? Tell us on our Wide Open Pets Facebook page.