Dogs need exercise every day and a lot of pet parents ask us “when is it too hot to walk my dog?” during these hot days. Summers in Charleston (along with spring and fall days) can get quite hot. It can be easy for your dog to overheat, so it’s vital for you to understand what heat your dog can safely handle.
There is not a hard and fast temperature that makes it too hot, but a good rule of thumb is 90 degrees and higher is too hot. On days with very high temperatures, the best idea is to modify your walk times to be early in the morning or late in the evening. These times of the day are cooler and you won’t have the direct sun beating down on your pup. An even better gauge than just the temperature is feeling the sidewalk or road you will be walking on. We use the 5 Second Rule: Place your hand on the pavement and if it is too hot for you to hold there for 5 seconds, it’s too hot for your dog to walk on it.
Even on hot days, it’s still inevitable that you’ll have to take your dog outside to go to the bathroom. There are lots of things you can do to keep them cool even when the temperature is boiling. Find shadier paths to walk instead of walking in the direct sun. It’s best to have your dog walk on the grass or dirt instead of pavement so that they don’t burn their paws. Plan out your path so that you can have stops every so often in grassy or shaded areas so their paws can get some relief. It’s also important to limit the time outside, so once they take their potty break, head back home.
Every dog is different, but there are certain factors that can make your dog overheat easily. Your dog’s breed can help you determine if they may not do well on a hot day. Dogs that are short-faced, such as Boxers, French Bulldogs, English Bulldogs, Pugs, Pekingese, Boston Terriers, and Shih Tzu’s are dogs that typically overheat very quickly in hot temperatures. Overweight dogs are also much more likely to overheat and have a higher risk for dehydration. Another factor to consider is your dog’s coat color, as darker coats will absorb more heat than lighter coats.
Most dogs are good at telling you it is too hot for them – you just need to know what to look for! When you first go outside, give your dog a minute or two to adjust to the temperature change. If they act like they want to go back inside, that’s a great sign that they know it’s too hot outside. Once you get going on your walk, watch to see if your dog is high-stepping. When the ground is too hot for their paws, they will be uncomfortable and will try to minimize the time their paws touch the ground. You can also check their paw pads every so often to see if they feel warm or cool. If they are warm, then it’s better to head home and go back out when it’s cooler.
We’re just getting into the crazy hot days of summer here in Charleston, so now is a great time to start adjusting your dog’s walking routine. Plan for walks in the early morning and late evening to ensure your dog stays cool. If your schedule doesn’t work for that new routine, give Charleston Dog Walker a call! We’d love to make sure your dog gets all the exercise they need and still stay cool!
Charleston Dog Walker provides professional dog walking and pet sitting in your home that is customized to your pet’s needs. We’re so happy you found us (and we know your pet is, too!) and we would truly be honored to be your pet care provider. Give us a call at 843-580-2212 or contact us to get more information about how we can help your pet!