Quick Answer:

It depends how hot is ‘hot’, and also the size, breed, age and health of your dog. If in doubt, stick to walks in the early morning and later in the evenings and substitute in some non-strenuous brain games instead – if it’s really hot, skipping a walk or two won’t harm your dog. Make the most of Summer showers if your dog doesn’t mind the rain – they can be really refreshing!

If you HAVE to go out in the sun, always carry water – we love these Long Paws Bottles. Stick to the shade, walk on grass or dirt rather than pavements, don’t over-exert and keep an eye on your dog for signs of heatstroke.

Tangent:

I need to get something off my chest… Do not leave your dog in a car in warm weather. Even if it’s only for ‘5 minutes’. Even if you’ve cracked the window a bit. It still gets fucking hot. Don’t do it. Dogs die like this, and they suffer first. Don’t be a dick.

If you’re still not convinced that this is a real danger, take a look at this video of Ciara the vet and Kevin and Dave, Butternut Box Founders, who locked themselves in a hot car to see what it’s like for dogs.

If you do see a dog locked in a car in hot weather, take a look at the RSPCA’s guide as to how to deal with it correctly, so that you don’t get into any legal trouble.

Full Answer:

There are a number of factors to consider when thinking about walking your dog in hot weather:

Hot Pavements

Hot pavements can lead to burned, blistered paws. As a general rule, put the back of your hand to the floor, if you can’t hold your hand there for 10-15 seconds, it’s too hot for your pupper to walk on.

Heatstroke

In terms of heatstroke, the point at which temperatures become unsafe depends on the breed, age and weight of your dog. Up to about 20°C is ok for most dogs. 21°C or above can start becoming dangerous for large dogs, 23°C for medium and small dogs. Obese, senior, puppy and brachycephalic (flat-muzzled dogs such as Frenchies, Pugs, Boxers) dogs all add to the risk.

Temp

Dog Size

°C

°F

S

M

L

15° 60° 1 1 1
18° 65° 1 1 2
21° 70° 2 2 3
23° 75° 3 3 3
26° 80° 3 3 4
29° 85° 4 4 5
32° 90° 5 5 5
1 No evidence of risk: Have fun outside!
2 Risk is unlikely: Have fun outside, but be careful.
3 Potentially unsafe, depending on breed. Keep an eye on dog when outside.
4 Dangerous weather developing. Use caution.
5 Potentially life-threatening heat. Avoid outdoor activity.
 
+1 if obese
+1 if brachycephalic breed
+1 if less than 6 months, or a senior dog
-1 if in the shade

Dog Walkers & Doggy Daycares

If you use of daycares and walkers, make sure they know how to look after your dog in this weather, and what to do if anything goes wrong. See more in How to Find a Good Dog Walker.

Extra Bits

  • If you have room in your garden, set up a paddling pool for your dog to play in.
  • Freeze food in a Kong or K9 Connectable to chill your dog out.
  • Soak rope toys in low-salt stock and freeze, for a stress-relieving, cooling chew for your dog.
  • Get your dog a cooling coat, or soak a towel in cold water and put over their back.
  • Make Frozen Pupcakes for your dog.
  • Frozen carrots or just ice cubes also make fun toys / treats for a hot dog.

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