How Hot Is Too Hot for Dogs?
The first official day of summer is quickly approaching, but for us Arizonans, it feels as though it arrived weeks ago. Desert regions are known for having temperatures that exceed 100 degrees for a large majority of the year. But just because temps are high doesn’t mean your dog needs less exercise. Having pets in desert areas requires pet parents to take some specific precautions to ensure their pup stays protected, happy, healthy, and hydrated through the heat.
So how hot is too hot for dogs? Is walking your dog in the heat safe? We just might have the answers you’re looking for!
Walking Your Dog in the Heat
If you are someone who enjoys exercising with your dog, consider these tips:
- Check the pavement temperature for dogs by pressing the back of your hand firmly on the sidewalk or asphalt for at least 7 seconds to feel if it’s comfortable for your dog’s paws – if your hand burns, your pet’s paws will, too!
- Seek out cooler temperatures like early mornings before 9 AM or evenings after 6 PM
- Avoid hot surfaces like asphalt or concrete as it can get too hot for dogs; instead, opt for grass or highly shaded areas
- Pack a collapsible bowl and plenty of fresh water
- Limit direct sun exposure, especially for those pups with shorter or little hair
- Keep the exercise light and tolerable: avoid running, biking, or long-distance exercise
- Bring cool, damp towels and place them over your pet in the instance of heat exhaustion
- Consider purchasing protective dog shoes for summer walks and activities
Pavement Temperatures for Dogs: Things You Oughta Know
- The sidewalk on a hot day in AZ can easily reach temps upwards of 150 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Even dogs with calloused pads will begin to feel discomfort/pain at around 120 degrees.
- Burning and tissue damage will begin at 140 degrees after only one minute of contact with the hot surface!
- If it feels like 77 degrees outside, the asphalt temperature is likely 125 degrees.
- If it feels like 86 degrees outside, the asphalt temperature is likely 135 degrees.
- If it feels like 87 degrees outside, the asphalt temperature is likely 143 degrees.
Signs of Heat Exhaustion
Heat exhaustion is a common response to long and short-term exposure to temperatures that are too hot for dogs. Dogs are unable to sweat to regulate body temperatures, so they pant to cool themselves off. Unfortunately, this is not the most efficient way to cool down. If a pet gets too overheated and can’t cool down this way, they risk heat stroke. Signs to look out for include:
- Excessive panting
- Fast/heavy breathing
- Disorientation/uncoordinated movement
- Muscle tremors
- Reddened gums
Getting out and enjoying some quality time with your pup is completely possible and easily managed as long as you follow a few common-sense guidelines and remain mindful of your surroundings and aware of your dog’s needs. If you’re still unsure of best practices when it comes to exercising your pup in the desert heat, contact us at AZPetVet and we will help guide you through!