Walking your dog in hot weather

Dogs, Pet health, Welfare


Many of us are aware of the dangers of leaving your dog in a car on a warm day, but exercising your dog in hot weather could also cause them just as much harm.

Heat exhaustion through exercise is prevalent in dogs and can sadly lead to loss of life. If you are taking them out for a walk, or for the day and the weather is warm, please consider that for a dog to stay cool on a walk there will need to be:

  • Shaded areas
  • Water
  • Cool substrate such as grass to walk on  

But ultimately if it's too hot none of this will matter and your dog will be safer at home.

summer dog walking in the city can damage paws

Paws for thought

Pavements, roads and town centres can be too hot for paws as they absorb heat. Take a step outside on a hot day and lay the back of your hand on a pavement and then compare to a grass area - how different it is! Paw pads can be scorched and blistered by walking on concrete surfaces.

Dogs that particularly struggle with hot weather

  • Flat-faced (brachycephalic) dogs, such as pugs or bulldogs, often have trouble breathing. 
  • Dogs with heart problems or respiratory disease.
  • Dogs with thick coats such as sled dogs
  • Unfit or overweight dogs

Flat-faced (brachycephalic) dogs, such as pugs or bulldogs, often have trouble breathing.

But heatstroke can affect all breeds and ages.

What are the signs of heatstroke?

Spotting the signs of overheating before it becomes harmful could mean the difference between life and death for your dog. You know your dog better than anyone.

  • Are they breathing more heavily than usual?
  • Do they have less energy?
  • Are they less playful than normal?
  • Are they panting more?
  • Are they stumbling or laying down?

If so, they could be starting to get too hot. Stop moving, give them water and find shade. Lay a damp towel over their body and apply cool (not cold) water to their paws and ear flaps. Do not dunk in cold water as that could cause shock. 

Keep an eye on them until they're recovered. If they get worse, call your vet immediately.

» Click here to find out more about keeping your dog cool at home

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