The months of June, July, and August mean that schools are out, fireworks are in, and the community pool is the place to be. But along with this fun in the sun comes the very real threat of heatstroke for humans and animals alike. Thermometers have been reaching higher and higher digits each year, and pet owners are asking themselves an urgent question:
When is it too hot to walk your dog?
As you can imagine, the answers can be very different depending on whether you have a Malamute or a Chihuahua. Factors such as temperature, humidity, geographical region, specific terrain, and time of day all play a role in planning safe walks for your dog (of course, if you’re unable to take your pup outside for their potty break because of the heat, the City Loo luxury dog litter box can help).
It’s a lot to think about when your best friend wears a fur coat all year, and it can make those sweltering summers incredibly stressful. Luckily, your worrying stops here! We’ve done some digging around the internet to compile a list of fact-based tips for warmer weather worth wagging your tail over.
Consider These Factors
Heat has external and internal consequences for both people and pups. Similar to how we’re susceptible to sunburns, dogs can get paw pad burns from touching too-hot pavement. And on the inside, we all experience the same symptoms such as dehydration, rapid breathing, racing heartbeat, nausea, and brain fog, and the longer it goes on, the more likely it is that our bodies will start shutting down.
Overheated dogs suffer from heat stress and heat exhaustion, and without intervention, it can quickly turn into heatstroke. Unlike us, they’re only able to sweat out of the bottom of their feet, so it’s extra important to mind those paws on the hottest days. Rapidly breathing out heat and breathing in cool air is the number one way they lower their body temperature, which is why excessive panting or drooling is one of the first signs of oncoming heatstroke.
By providing them with lots of water, you can mitigate some of the weather’s effect on your dog, but there are always some environmental factors that should make long walks a no-go.
Temperature and Humidity
First things first: what is the temperature and relative humidity like when you step out the door? If you think it’s hot, your dog will definitely agree. Also, humidity worsens high temperatures because it’s harder to sweat, and dogs are already at a big disadvantage in that department.
Temperature thresholds indicate potential harm to dogs and should definitely be part of your decision-making. The ranges may surprise you since they are much lower comfort ranges than humans experience.
- 68°-73°F is estimated as the start of potentially hazardous temperatures for dog walking, particularly if they’re exercised too intensely (anything below 68 poses little to no danger).
- The next range is 75°-80°F; large, obese, flat-faced, or young dogs move into the “at-risk” category at this point.
- 82°-87°F affects pups of every breed, age, weight, and size, but larger dogs and younger puppies are especially vulnerable.
- Any temperature of 90°F and above is considered dangerous for your dog, and you should wait to walk until things cool down.
Aside from the temperature and humidity outside, your geographical region has a hand in determining just how harsh the heat can get. Southwestern areas typically experience warmer temperatures compared to the rest of the map, though the entire western United States—including up north—has shattered heat records in recent months.
In addition to generally warming temperatures, urban heat islands are becoming a major puzzle for scientists to solve. This phenomenon describes how cities are 1-7 degrees hotter than nearby suburban or countryside regions year-round. Dogs who live in cities face a greater likelihood of heat-related illnesses simply because of where they reside. By 2050, it’s estimated that 70 percent of people worldwide will live in cities, so this will be an increasing problem for pet owners.
City dwellers should be extra mindful of urban heat island effects, since they tend to complicate questions like “when is it too hot to walk your dog?” If you’re surrounded by concrete and asphalt, the answer is probably “more often than other places.”
An underrated feature of your surroundings and the impact had on your pup is right under their nose—the ground you travel on during your walk. If that route is mostly sidewalks, asphalt, sand, metal, or artificial turf, you’ll have to be vigilant not to let those delicate paw pads get burned.
The air temperature at 86°F means the pavement could be as high as 135°F. For reference, 130°F is starting to get into egg frying temperatures. Now imagine putting your bare feet on that! A quick way to test pavement temperature is to hold your hand flat on the ground for ten seconds; if you can’t easily keep your hand there for those ten seconds, it’s too hot for your dog to walk on.
Grass or hard-packed dirt offer a reprieve from hot concrete. Find shady spots and stick to them as much as possible. You could even buy dog shoes or booties, ensuring that they’re loose enough to let your dog’s paws aerate. Cooling mats, plastic wading pools, and other accessories can also manage the heat for your pup. Tread carefully!
Time of Day
Your last step before heading out for a walk would be to check the clock. The American Kennel Club recommends taking walks in the early morning or late at night to avoid dehydration and paw problems. Walking your dog midday or in the late afternoon is the most unsafe time to do so, regardless of how brief that walk is.
Obviously, hot weather and its intricate time-of-day swings might challenge your schedule and disrupt your dog’s bathroom routine. You can’t give your dog a potty break when there are eggs frying on the sidewalks! Try adding a revolutionary indoor potty option to your home for your pup to use safely, no matter the forecast.
Let City Loo Help!
The City Loo luxury dog litter box is here to save summer for dog owners. It’s a clean and convenient solution that fits into your lives flexibly, since training is a breeze and location is up to you. Plus, the aesthetic design blends beautifully into any household.
Our stylish dog potty will simplify the process if your precious pup wants a bathroom trip outside, but you’re stuck wondering, when is it too hot to walk? Your dog deserves to “go” in peace, and the City Loo can make that happen! With a City Loo at home, you won’t have to weigh the needs of your dog against probable injury in the heat.
Shop our collection of City Loo products to conquer the dog days of summer!