Holy ballz, it’s hot outside! Yesterday, the heat index rose to over 110 degrees here in Indianapolis. Common sense should say that’s too hot to take your dog for a walk, but what if it were a bit cooler outside? Is 90 degrees too hot to walk your dog or allow him to play outside?
Dogs are most susceptible to heat stroke when they are first acclimating to an increase in temperature. This means the first few very hot days of summer are the most dangerous. It is okay to allow your dog to play outside on these days, but make sure you are giving him access to cool water, shade, and occasional air conditioning. If you see any of the symptoms of heat stroke, stop all play or exercise, and bring your dog inside where it’s cool. Signs of heat stroke include: heavy panting, increased salivation, weakness, inability to get up, vomiting, and diarrhea.
As much as we would like to think that our dogs know when to stop exercising or playing, they don’t. Dogs will overexert themselves to please you or just to continue the fun! It’s up to you to stop your dog from exerting himself beyond his capacity. Some people think that allowing a dog access to a swimming pool or lake will keep him from suffering from heat stroke. This can be true, but be aware that if the water your dog is swimming in reaches 75 degrees or above, and he is exerting himself by swimming or playing in it, the water is not going to cool his body temperature enough to be safe.
Certain dogs are more at-risk to heat stroke than others. You should be especially watchful of short-nosed breeds (like pugs and bulldogs), overweight dogs, older dogs, and sick dogs.
Also, be careful of sunburn. The tips of your dog’s ears and its nose are especially susceptible to sunburn. Use sunscreen labeled for dogs like Veterinarian’s Best Sun Spray Sunscreen for Dogs, 4oz or Epi-Pet Sun Protector Sunscreen Spray.
So should you walk your dog in the heat? If the sidewalk or pavement you are going to walk your dog on is too hot for your bare feet, it is too hot for your dog’s feet. Only walk during the time of day when it’s most cool — early morning and evening are best. Make sure you carry water along for your dog, and give him access to it while you’re walking. Most importantly, keep a watchful eye on your dog on the hot days. You should know what your dog’s normal behavior looks like, if he is displaying something different, stop all activity and go inside!
Keep it cool!