When is it too hot to walk your K9 friend?

July 4, 2015

The five-second rule: Place the back of your hand on the pavement. If you cannot hold it for five seconds, it's too hot to walk your dog.

 

As the temperatures begin to rise, it might be beautiful weather for us but not always for our K9 friends.. So when the temperatures rise but just how hot is too hot?

 

Our furry friends feel the heat even more than we do.  Dogs do not have the ability to sweat (except for very small amounts in between the toes), so they are MUCH less efficient at cooling. The only ways that they have to cool themselves are to lay low in the shade for the heat of the day or to pant/ drink cool fluids. You can picture that the surface area of their tongues is much smaller than that of their skin- maybe by 30-1. This means that they can be 30 times more sensitive to the heat!  

 

Also, the pavement is much closer to them as they walk and usually is in direct contact with their exposed paws. While pawpads are tough, the sidewalks can reach more than 150 degrees Fahrenheit in the summer! The radiant heat and the direct contact can cause burns that can take weeks to heal and are very painful.  We recommend keeping walks to the early hours of the morning or late in the evening during the summer. Any temperatures above 90 degrees is definately too hot for walking.

 

Heatstroke is basically prolonged overheating and can happen in as little as 20 minutes. Dogs have a higher normal body temperature range than people. They are normally between 100.0 and 102.0 degrees.  If they reach a temperature > 103.0, this is considered “hyperthermia” and is technically too hot (either from a fever or overheating). During heatstroke, dogs can easily reach 105.0- 110.0 and these temperatures can cause major damage to the body. Systems that are most severely affected are the brain, the liver, the lungs and the blood clotting systems! If you think that it is possible that your pet is overheated or suffering

from heatstroke- seek IMMEDIATE veterinary attention. Rules to follow-

  • NEVER leave your dog in an enclosed space- like a parked car or plastic kennel, these can become very hot! Always keep your pet in an area with plenty of shade and fresh water

  • Keep all geriatric, overweight and short-faced dogs in the A/C- these dogs are even more sensitive to the heat than the average dog

  • Do not exercise in the heat with your dog- even if you feel ok, they may be much hotter than you are. Keep all walks to times that are cooler than 90 degrees.

  • Seek medical attention if your pet shows any signs of heat stroke (do not wait). Heat stroke signs include: * excessive panting/ drooling, bright red gums, vomiting and/ or diarrhea, lethargy or stupor/loss of balance, loss of consciousness, seizure or even sudden death

So if you need to take your dog out and the sidewalk doesn’t pass this test, make sure to go somewhere shaded or grassy where they won’t hurt their paws. And don’t forget to bring water and keep a close eye on them if they’ll be out there for a while.

 

 

 

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