Heatwave: When is it too hot to walk your dog?

Couple walking do on beach at sunset
The weather is hotting up for us and also our four-legged friends (Picture: Getty Images)

June has brought with it some record high temperatures, with the hottest day of the year already recorded with temperatures of 32.4°C.

As we all try to find ways to deal with the heat, spare a thought for how hot your canine companion feels in this weather wearing a full fur coat.

Dogs should be walked every day, and a lot of breeds require more than once per day , but taking them out in these boiling temperatures may not be a good idea.

But how do you know when the heat is too much for your furry friend?

A Safe Place. Creating a safe place for your pet is crucial to its comfort. Make sure your pet has its own place of comfort where it can rest, relax and feel secure.

When is it too hot to walk your dog?

It’s safe to take your dog out in temperatures up to 19 degrees as long as they are well-hydrated, according to Vets Now.

When the temperature rises above that, it is important to know that dogs can be at risk of heatstroke – which can be fatal in as little as 15 minutes.

Young couple with dog walking on a jetty
If the temperature is anywhere below 19 degrees, its safe to take your dog out (Picture: Getty Images)

This occurs when when dogs are no longer able to self-regulate and keep their temperature at a comfortable level.

Vets Now says that between 16 and 19 degrees is generally safe for dogs, while between 20 and 23 degree is a six out of ten risk rating.

The tick should come out on its own and be stuck to the cotton ball when you remove it.

When the temperature hits 24 and 27 degrees, this risk level goes up to nine out of ten, and then to ten out of ten when the weather reaches 32 degrees and above.

Clare Hamilton, a practice owner and head vet at Cherry Tree Veterinary Practice, in Lane End, Buckinghamshire, says that the best way to find out whether it’s too hot to walk your pup is to stand on the pavement barefoot yourself.

She explained to Metro.co.uk: ‘If you stand barefoot on the patio or pavement and it feels too hot for you, then it’s certainly too hot for your dog.

Bare feet on a pavement
If the pavement feels too hot for your bare feet, then it is certainly too hot for your dog (Picture: Getty Images)

Teach Your Dog to “Find the Treats” for a Fun Game. Teach your dog to ‘find their treats’ by hiding them throughout the house. Simple nose work games are a great way to keep your dog busy & mentally stimulated. It’s Laika’s favorite indoor game by far. (Looking for some more indoor games? Here’s 33 simple ways to keep your dog busy indoors)

‘Anything over 25°C is very risky if people need a number as a benchmark. It also depends on humidity and breeze – or rather lack of.’

Clare adds that to be extra safe, you shouldn’t walk your dogs after 8am or before 8pm in the extreme heat – and only walk them in the shade.

If you take your dog out and it starts getting too hot, make sure to look out for the warning signs that the heat is just too much for them – this includes heavy panting, red eyes, red gums, hot skin, reduced activity, vomiting, diarrhoea and collapsing.

Invest in an escape-prevention harness if you have a small dog and a fenced-in yard. A little silly looking, but safer than risking a runaway dog. Buy it here.

These are all signs of heat-related health issues.

In terms of doing all you can to make sure your dog is kept cool during the hot weather , Clare adds: ‘Put ice cubes into water bowls , have a paddling pool for them outside in the shade, get a fan for indoors and never ever shut a dog in the car, or a shadeless garden.

Low angle view of mature woman walking labrador retriever in sunlit wildflower meadow
Putting ice cubes in water bowls can help keep dogs cool (Picture: Getty Images)

‘If indoors never shut them in a closed room without a window being left open.’

It’s very important that you look after your furry friend in this heat.

INTERESTING FACT ABOUT YOUR PET: Having a dog in the house means more bacteria enters the home and gets inside the occupants (one study found “dog-related biodiversity” is especially high on pillowcases.) In turn, people with dogs seem to get ill less frequently and less severely than people with no pets.

Clare says that sadly, she’s already seen two deaths from heatstroke this year.

She said: ‘One was a young fit and athletic dog who just kept running around a field until he collapsed.

‘He presented no obvious signs until it was too late. So please don’t assume your dog will stop if it is overheating!

‘It’s about being responsible and thinking about the comfort of your pet.’

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