November 27, 2021

When is it too hot to walk your dog? Signs of heatstroke to look out for

The UK heatwave is reaching its peak today with a 27C scorcher forecast.

Today is the first day of meteorological summer, and while you might be enjoying the heat and sunshine, your dog might not.

Dogs can suffer fatal heatstroke within minutes, which is why it’s incredibly important to make sure they aren’t too hot.

But the problem is that they should be walked everyday, and some breeds even require more than one walk.

However, taking them out in sizzling temperatures may not be a good idea – so how do you know when the heat is too much?

Here is everything you need to know, from safe temperatures for dog walks to the signs of heatstroke to look out for in dogs.

When is it too hot to walk your dog?

Dog panting
Heavy panting can be a sign of heatstroke

It’s safe to take your dog for a walk in temperatures of up to 19C as long as they are well-hydrated, according to VetsNow.

However, anything above 20C and your dog will be at risk of heat stroke, which can be fatal in as little as 15 minutes.

VetsNow says that between 16-19C it’s generally safe for dogs, while between 20-23C it’s a six out of 10 risk rating.

Between 24-27C the risk goes up to nine out of 10, which goes to 10 out of 10 when the weather reaches 32C and above.

Dogs are more at risk of heatstroke because, unlike humans, dogs can’t sweat through their skin.

They rely on panting and releasing heat through their paw pads and nose in order to regulate body temperature and keep cool.

Blue Cross likens this to wearing a thick winter coat on a summer’s day.

Remember to never leave your dog in a car, because when it’s 22C outside the temperatures in a car can reach an unbearable 47C within an hour.

If you see a dog in distress inside a car, official advice e is to dial 999 immediately.

What are the signs of heatstroke in dogs?

There are several signs of heatstroke in dogs, including heavy panting and excessively drooling.

The RSPCA also says to look out for dogs appearing lethargic, drowsy or uncoordinated, collapsing, or vomiting.

If you think your dog may be suffering from heatstroke, Blue Cross says you should move them to a cool place immediately.

Wet their coat with cool, but not freezing water, and also allow the dog to drink small amounts of water.

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Continue pouring cool water over the dog until their breathing starts to settle, but not so much they start shivering, says the RSPCA.

Once the dog is cool, take them to your nearest vet as a matter of urgency.

It’s important to act straight away, because when a dog shows signs of heatstroke the damage has often already been done, says VetsNow.