Basking in the warmth of the sun, lounging by the pool, sporting your favorite sunglasses - these are just some of the best parts of summer, which are made possible by the sunshine and nice weather. But the warm temperatures can pose a risk to our canine companions. What temperature is too hot for my dog? Find out here.
How Hot Is Too Hot?
First things first, it's important to note that all dogs are unique and that means each one's tolerance for the heat can vary. However, there are some guidelines from Tufts Animal Care And Condition for what temperatures are too hot for your dog, based on his or her size.
In general, there is no risk at 60 degrees Fahrenheit for dogs of all sizes, while 85 to 90 degrees Fahrenheit is potentially life threatening. For medium and small breeds, there is no risk up to 65 degrees and unlikely risk at 70 degrees. But 75 to 80 degrees can be unsafe, 85 begins to be dangerous and beyond 90 is potentially life threatening.
For large breeds, risk is unlikely at 65 degrees, but potential risks begin at 70, so you'll want to start being careful there. As temperatures climb, 80 degrees poses real dangers, while 85 degrees and up is potentially life-threatening. At these temperatures, prolonged outdoor activity should be avoided.
Pet Plan Insurance created an infographic to display this information in an easy-to-read way:
Factors That May Affect These Guidelines
As previously mentioned, these are general guidelines. So they may be affected by certain factors, including:
- Coat: Dogs with thick, double-layered coats don't tolerate warm temperatures as well as others because their fur acts as insulation. These cold-weather breeds often originated from cooler climates, making them less adapted to higher temperatures. Some dogs will benefit from a summer haircut, just make sure research if your dog is one of them.
- Weight: Dogs that have more body fat have more natural insulation and thus don't tolerate heat as well as thinner dogs. This, however, does not mean you should put your dog on a diet for summer, as it's important to maintain a healthy weight to avoid health issues.
- Age: Older dogs tend to have more trouble moving around, which means they may not be able to avoid the sun as easily. In addition, if a senior dog falls asleep in the sun, they may sleep too soundly to wake up and move before overheating.
- Health: Dogs with health issues, such as heart and respiratory disease, can't cool down as easily or efficiently and are thus at higher risk of overheating. Even normal activity on hot days can be dangerous.
- Breed: Brachycephalic dogs (those with short snouts, such as Bulldogs, Pugs and Boxers) are at higher risk of overheating. This is because their short snouts limit their ability to cool air as efficiently as other breeds.
- Humidity: Humidity can make it feel warmer than the temperature on the thermometer, which can pose risks to your dog. This is referred to as heat index. For example, when it's 85 degrees outside but there is 90% humidity, it actually feels closer 102 degrees.
Warning Signs Your Dog Is Too Hot
You can enjoy summer with your canine companion, you'll just want to be safe about it. Here are some warning signs that your dog is too hot and it's time to go back inside:
- Heavy, labored panting
- High body temperature
- Red or purple gums and/or tongue
- Excessive or unusual drooling
- Lethargy and uncoordinated movements
- Increased pulse
- Weakness or collapsing
And if you want to avoid being outside as much as possible (for you and your dog's safety), no one will blame you. There are plenty of ways to entertain your dog inside so he or she can still have fun out of the sun.