When is it too hot to walk your dog?

Dogs find it difficult to deal with extreme heat, and dehydration and overheating can happen quickly. This can lead to heat stroke, a severe illness that can be fatal. So, when is it too hot to walk your dog?

Is it too hot to walk my dog?

As a general rule, walking your dog at any temperature below 20C is ideal. Anything above 20C can cause your dog to become dehydrated and very hot very quickly. The hotter the temperature, the higher the risk to your dog.  

As the temperature increases, even by just 1C, the risk to your dog increases too. Any temperature over 25C is a definite NO when it comes to walking! Stick to the rule of walking below 20C to be safe. Some dogs are at higher risk from the heat than others, so be extra careful:

  • Overweight dogs
  • Brachycephalic breeds, such as French Bulldogs and Pugs
  • Older dogs over 8-years-old
  • Younger dogs under 6-months-old

During the hot summer months, take your dog out before 8am or after 8pm when temperatures cool down. Offer them plenty of fresh water and choose shaded areas if you can.

Why can't I walk my dog in hot weather?

Apart from being very uncomfortable for them, there are some serious reasons why you shouldn't walk your dog in hot weather:

  • Dogs have hairy coats, even those that have had a recent haircut. Imagine how uncomfortable it would be to walk around with a duvet around your body in the summer. Then, think of your dog.
  • Dogs don't sweat as we do. They have small sweat glands on the pads of their paws, but this doesn't make a lot of difference when they try to cool off. You may notice them panting. This is another dog cooling technique that can work but is not hugely effective. Dogs are not efficient creatures when it comes to cooling down. 
  • Walking on hot surfaces will cause severe burns to the sensitive skin on the pads of their paws. This will be intensely painful for your dog and leads to open wounds where the skin has burnt and peeled off.

Top Tip: Take off your shoes and stand on the pavement or patio with bare feet. Is it too hot for your feet? If so, it is far too hot for your dog on that surface.  

Every owner must know the signs of heatstroke in dogs. Read our blog '5 signs your dog is overheating' to learn more. 

With a Kennel Club Pet Insurance policy, you can access the free Pet Health Helpline, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The veterinary-trained team will advise on any concerns or queries that you may have over your pet’s health – much like the NHS 111 service for people. Call free on 03333 32 19 47.