Tips for Keeping Your Dog Safe During the Summer Heat

Tips for Keeping Your Dog Safe During the Summer HeatWith temperatures approaching triple digits in many places across the country, it is now more important than ever to take extra precaution in keeping your dog cool and safe during the the extreme heat. I have always subscribed to the guiding rule that if it was too hot for me outside, it was too hot for my pet.

Many many pet owners forget that hot surfaces like asphalt and cement can be especially problematic. Animals walking so close to the ground absorb the heat more quickly. Plus their sensitive paw pads are more prone to burns. Where possible, avoid concrete pathways and walk your dogs on grass.

The outdoor heat is also tougher on certain types of dogs. Short-faced breeds, like pugs, bulldogs,and boxers, can’t cool themselves as well as other breeds.   Those with very thick, dense coats can also have a tougher time in the heat.  Black dogs will tend to absorb more heat into their bodies than light-colored dogs, and older dogs as well as those with respiratory problems will have less tolerance for hot weather.

Portable water bottle for dogsIt should go without saying that it is essential to keep your dog hydrated when going on long walks.   According to Jon Nowinski, from the VCA Animal Hospital in Shelton, CT, “In a 90 degree day, especially with those coming up this summer, a dog can suffer from heat stroke in 10 minutes or less.”

Portable water bottles for dogs can be found easily online or at your local pet supply store for just a few bucks.

And though we are constantly reminded about the dangers of leaving your dog in the car on a hot day, do you know just how fast inside temperature can rise without proper ventilation? According to, even wit ha starting inside temperature of 70 degrees, a car can heat up to over 100 in a half-hour!

Unlike people, dogs have few sweat glands, which are found primarily on their paws and noses. Though many people believe that dogs sweat through their tongues, panting is not an effective method of heat loss. (

How long does it take for a car to heat up?

Heat stroke in dogs can cause organ failure, seizures, brain damage, hemorrhages, blindness, convulsions and even death.

Heat exhaustion (the early stages when a dog begins overheating) can be remedied by taking action to reduce the their body temperature. Get them inside or to a cooler area. Dampen their skin with lukewarm or room temperature water – NOT ice-cold water – as that can cause their blood vessels to constrict too quickly. Symptoms of heat exhaustion can include diarrhea, nausea and vomiting, rapid panting, and the skin inside the ears reddening.

“Heatstroke occurs when the dogs’ normal body mechanisms cannot keep body temperature in a safe range.  A dogs’ normal body temperature is 100-102.5 degrees, a body temperature over 106 degrees is deadly and calls for immediate veterinary assistance. Signs of heat stroke include rapid panting, a bright red tongue, red or pale gums, and thick, sticky saliva. The dog may show depression, weakness and dizziness, vomiting – sometimes with blood, diarrhea, shock, and coma.” (

So this summer, while you are having fun outside with your most beloved four-legged friend, please remember to use some common sense. But also think twice about how the extreme heat can effect an animal who may be just a fraction of your own size and has different tools to keep itself cool.

For more resources on the subject, check out:



Why Do Dogs Roll in Smelly Stuff?
Are Small Dogs Harder To Train Than Big Dogs?