Ouch! How Hot Is Too Hot for a Dog This Summer?

General Guidelines

What temperature is too hot for dogs? For any dog, 32° C / 89.6° F is considered too hot. At this temperature, your dog is prone to heat stroke, regardless of its breed or health.

Too Hot to Walk Infographic Guidelines

Here is an easy-to-use chart that most dog owners can follow to determine if it’s too hot to walk your dog.

Recognizing Signs of Heatstroke in Dogs

Your dog may be overheating if you see:

  • Excessive drooling
  • Changes in gum colour (bright or dark red)
  • Dry nose
  • Excessive thirst
  • Vomiting

Factors that Impact Whether it is Too Hot For Your Dog Outside

Did you know that there are plenty of other factors that can drastically change how easy it is for your dog to overheat?

  • Whether you’re walking in the sun or shade
  • Humidity levels
  • Your dog’s breed
  • Your dog’s overall health

Walking on Pavement, Asphalt, or Concrete? It’s a Lot Hotter for Your Dogs Than You Might Think!

If you’ve ever walked in the city in the summer, you’ll know that asphalt, pavement, and concrete surfaces just LOVE to retain heat.

What about walking your dog on other surfaces like grass and soil?

So now that we know just how hot asphalt can feel on our dog’s feet, you might be wondering — what about other surfaces? What if I walk my dog on just grass? Will their feet still burn?

  1. On average, the soil was 5.3° C cooler than asphalt concrete
  1. Having your dog walk on soil on a sunny 25° C probably won’t burn your dog’s feet but it’ll probably still feel hot on your dog’s paws. At 30° C+, you may need to watch out for potential paw pad burns.

What if I only walk in the shade?

Okay, so we ALL KNOW that staying in the shade feels so much cooler on a hot sunny day. Even though the temperature doesn’t change, it feels cooler because we’re not absorbing heat directly from the sun.

Asphalt Surface Temperature in the Sun vs. Shade

Air Temperature — Asphalt in the Sun — Asphalt in the Shade

Soil Surface Temperature in the Sun vs. Shade

Air Temperature — Soil in the Sun — Soil in the Shade

Grass Surface Temperature in the Sun vs. Shade

Air Temperature — Grass in the Sun — Grass in the Shade

Humidity Can Increase Overheating in Dogs

There are three ways that dogs can cool down:

  1. Sweating through their paws
  2. Vasodilation — bringing hot blood closer to the surface of the skin to release heat

When Is it Too Hot for Brachycephalic or Short-Nosed Breeds?

Pugs, Shih Tzus, Chihuahuas, Boxers, and other brachycephalic dog breeds (dogs with a “shortened head”) have an even tougher time staying cool because they can’t pant as well as other dogs.

When Is it Too Hot for Double-Coated Dogs?

Double-coated dogs (like the Golden Retriever, Husky, and Chow Chow) are dogs with two different types of fur on their body:

  1. An insulting soft undercoat

Finally, Your Dog’s Age and Health Matter Too!

Your dog’s age and health can also influence how easily they overheat too. Overweight dogs or dogs with any compromised health condition are more prone to overheating — even in cooler temperatures.

Putting It Altogether

Determining whether it’s too hot for a dog to go outside depends on more than just the temperature on the thermometer.

  1. Surfaces are almost always hotter than the actual temperature
  2. Asphalt can start burning paw pads on sunny days in temperatures as low as 25° C / 77° F
  3. Surfaces can become 6° C — 25° C / 43° F — 77° F hotter than the actual temperature when it’s sunny
  4. To avoid paw pad burns, walking in the shade, especially on shaded grass, is the best
  5. Dogs can overheat at lower temperatures if there’s a higher humidity because it is harder for them to pant effectively.
  6. Brachycephalic or double-coated breeds can start overheating in temperatures as low as 23° C / 75° F
  7. Puppies, senior dogs, or dogs with compromised health issues are also more prone to overheating at lower temperatures too.

7 Dog Summer Safety Tips to Keep Your Dog From Overheating This Summer

While I spent most of the article talking about what makes it too hot for dogs, that doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t take them out the entire summer!!

1. Walk in the early morning or late evening when it is cooler

Try to walk either before 8:00 AM in the morning or after 8:00 PM in the evening. Not only will it be cooler, but the pavement and sidewalks will be too.

2. Choose shaded trails or trails with water

Shade can help dogs absorb less heat on their fur while also providing a cooler surface for their paws. Similarly, choosing trails with a water source and allowing your dogs to enter is a great way to keep the heat at bay.

3. Bring water — no matter how short your walk is

Even if you’re going for a ten-minute walk, I’d recommend bringing along some water for your dog to keep them hydrated and cool. On extra hot days, the extra water can also be used on their bodies to help release some of the body heat too.

4. Take shorter walks more often

Much like how you can shorten your walks in the winter when it gets too cold, you can shorten the duration of your walks in the summer. Opt for a higher interval (i.e. more frequent walks) and shorter duration to keep your dog from overheating.

5. Have your dog wear cooling clothing

Have you heard of cooling clothing for dogs? You can either soak these types of clothing in water and let evaporation do its work to cool dogs down, or even opt for reflective material to keep your dog from absorbing heat (kind of like a car shade!).

6. Avoid standing in one place for too long — especially on pavement

Remember that at 52° C / 125° F, it takes just 2 minutes for us to get seriously burned. This could happen to our dog’s paws too — so if you’re out on a hot day, try to keep your dog’s paws moving to minimize contact time with hot surfaces.

7. Protect the paws from heat

If your dog doesn’t mind wearing booties and you live in a concrete jungle, consider getting some summer booties for your pup. I’d recommend looking for booties made in breathable, lightweight materials like these dog booties from Muttluks that were designed specifically for the summer.

Sources and Extra Reading

If you want to fact-check or learn more about some of the information used in this post, here are the links to the articles and posts I referenced while researching this topic — I hope you find them useful too!

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Maria | SYDE Road

Maria | SYDE Road

A *mostly* dog-friendly content creator based in Toronto, Ontario Canada. Look forward to reviews, dog mom stories, and travel anecdotes.