Keeping Your Dog Safe in Hot Weather

As we enjoy the last few days of spring and the torrid summer heats begins in earnest, now is the time to take extra precaution when venturing outside with your dog. While heat stroke, or hyperthermia, are always a risk for pets when left in confined area (like your car) without proper ventilation, risks abound even for the causal daily walk.

Dogs who are exposed to high temperatures for long periods of time are at risk of dehydration and overheating, which can lead to more serious problems like “heat exhaustion, heat stroke or sudden death from cardiac arrhythmias,” according to the Animal Health Foundation of the American Kennel Club


Have you heard of the 5 second rule? No not the time it takes for your beloved canine to nudge you with their nose when you are not paying attention. (You thought i was going to talk about food, didn’t you?) The 5 second rule is an easy to remember test when deciding if it is too hot outside.

Place the back of your hand on the pavement and keep it there for 5-10 seconds. If it is too hot for you during this short time, then it is way too hot to walk your dog.

Some people also use their bare foot to test the walking surface and if it too hot for your tender soles, then it is too hot for your furry friend.

What is important to always remember is that air temperature is NOT an accurate reflection of ground temperature.

“Asphalt temperature and the outdoor temperature are two very different things. When the outside air temperature is 77 degrees the asphalt in the sun is 125 degrees. You can fry and egg at 131 degrees just imagine how your dog feels as you drag him along to the farmers market or outdoor festival being held on asphalt.” [source]


REMEMBER… air temperature is NOT an accurate reflection of ground temperature.

How hot is too hot for your dog?

Most healthy canines will probably be fine outside in warm temperatures up to about 90F given plenty of water, air circulation and shade. However it is important to remember that dogs do not sweat – they cool themselves through panting. Short-snouted breeds (likes Bulldogs or Pugs) can have trouble doing this easily. Additionally, breeds that originated from cold climates (like Huskies, Malamutes, and Newfoundlands) typically have a harder time adjusting to the heat. [source]

In addition to breed, other critical factors that play big roles in how dogs handle heat include age and obesity. “Some old dogs sleep so soundly that once they’ve found a sunny spot in the yard, they’re down for the count and sleep right through overheating.” [source]



“Some old dogs sleep so soundly that once they’ve found a sunny spot in the yard, they’re down for the count and sleep right through overheating.”

While there is no hard and fast rule for what temperature is safe and what is not, here are some general guidelines: [source]


90 degrees 0F+
Heat stroke is a major risk regardless of condition, size or breed

82-89 0F
Dangerous for all, but life-threatening for larger breeds and puppies as well as dogs who are flat-faced or obese

Extreme caution should be taken as most dogs, particularly whose who are large, obes, flat-faced and very young, will find those temperatures very uncomfortable.

Even at this temperature dogs are at risk of getting heat stroke if exercised too rigorously or suffering from an underlying condition such as obesity or breathing conditions

Generally safe to exercise dogs at all times of the day, although keep a close eye on large , obese and flat-faced breeds


If your dog does start to suffer from heat exhaustion, here are some early signs to be on the lookout for: [source]

  • rapid breathing
  • heavy panting
  • salivation
  • fatigue
  • muscle tremors
  • staggering

If you see a dog that is experiencing heat exhaustion, take the dog to a cool, shady place, and apply wet towels or cloths to help cool the dog’s body down. Try to give the dog small amounts of water, and immediately call a vet.



Heatstroke in Dogs []
Simple trick to tell if it’s too hot outside to walk your dog []
How Hot is Too Hot for Dogs? []
How hot is too hot for your dog? []
Keep pets safe in the heat []
When is it too hot to walk a dog? Infographic []
Dogs and Hot Weather []
Summer Pet Tips: Hot Asphalt and Your Dog []
How do you know it’s too hot out to walk your dog? []
Best Dog Boots For Hiking, Winter and Hot Pavements (That Stay On!) []


Basic Commands for your Dog
Puppy Dog Eyes