When is it too hot for your dog? {summer pet care tips}

I was born and raised in Texas, like Houston, Texas…and if you have never been there it gets very hot in the summer (+100 degrees) with a boatload of humidity (average 78%). It doesn’t ever feel cool unless you’re in a pool or in front of the AC.

So when is it too hot to leave your dog in the car? or take him for a walk around the block? And what should you do if you find a dog that has become overheated?

Well, lets talk about the car…technically speaking it is too hot to leave your dog in the car if the outside temperature is 70 degrees Fahrenheit. Yes, 70. On average the inside temperature of a car gets between 10-25 degrees hotter than the external temp and cracking the windows hardly helps slow the rise of the temperature. (http://redrover.org/mydogiscool/how-hot-do-cars-get) So if you can’t take Fido and Fluffy in with you don’t leave them in the car but leave them at home.

If you come upon a car with a dog inside:

  1. Note the make/model of the vehicle, license plate number and its specific location. Note a description of the dog(s), and the condition of the dog(s), especially if any signs of distress are observed (see below). Also note the time.
  2. Call the local animal control agency, police or 911.
  3. Some locations, such as malls, amusement parks or casinos, will have on-site security that may be able to take action.
  4. Ask clerks at nearby stores/venues to make announcements using the vehicle’s make/model to locate the dog’s owner.
  5. If possible, return to the vehicle to monitor the dog’s condition and help responding authorities locate the vehicle.

Screen Shot 2013-06-13 at 9.38.47 AM

Signs an animal is in distress include:

  • Excessive panting
  • Excessive drooling
  • Increased heart rate
  • Trouble breathing
  • Disorientation, stumbling or poor coordination
  • Diarrhea or vomiting
  • Collapse or loss of consciousness
  • Seizure
  • Respiratory arrest

Screen Shot 2013-06-13 at 9.34.00 AMDogs with short noses, such as pugs, are more easily prone to heat illness; as are dogs with thick coats, such as Siberian huskies and pomerianians.

At least 14 states and many municipalities have laws that specifically address the problem of animals left in cars in extreme temperatures. These laws often authorize law enforcement officials to enter a vehicle and remove the animal. Even states without these provisions may consider leaving an animal in an enclosed car to be animal cruelty. We recommend that aggressive action including entering a vehicle without an owner’s permission be taken by authorities. Please keep in mind charges can be serious.

A dog in distress from hyperthermia is a medical emergency. Dogs rescued from hyperthermia should be taken to a veterinary clinic as soon as possible. In the meantime, remove the dog from the hot conditions and move the dog into a cooler, preferably air-conditioned, area. Wet the dog’s coat with room temperature water. Aim a fan at the dog, or fan the dog manually with a paper. Do not force drinking.

Do you know what a dog suffering from heat stroke looks like? Do you know how to help?

If you have even the slightest suspicion that your dog is suffering from heat stoke, you must take immediate action.

  1. First, move your dog out of the heat and away from the sun right away.
  2. Begin cooling your dog with cool water. You may place wet rags or wash cloths on the foot pads and around the head, but replace them frequently as they warm up. Avoid covering the body with wet towels, as it may trap in heat.
  3. DO NOT use ice or ice water! Extreme cold can cause the blood vessels to constrict, preventing the body’s core from cooling and actually causing the internal temperature to further rise. In addition, over-cooling can cause hypothermia, introducing a host of new problems. When the body temperature reaches 103.9°F, stop cooling. At this point, your dog’s body should continue cooling on its own.
  4. Offer your dog cool water, but do not force water into your dog’s mouth. Try not to let your dog drink excessive amounts at a time.
  5. Call or visit your vet right away – even if your dog seems better. Internal damage might not be obvious to the naked eye, so an exam is necessary (and further testing may be recommended).

It’s a beautiful summer afternoon and you notice someone walking their dog on the sidewalk…but it’s 90 degrees, the sidewalk is not shaded and there isn’t a breeze…how hot does the sidewalk get? How hot is too hot for your dog?

Screen Shot 2013-06-13 at 9.43.02 AM

Temperature Limits for Dogs + People

  • 120 degrees the initial pain threshold  for direct skin contact without permanent damage, burns after 5-10 seconds in hot water for small children and the elderly
  • 140 degrees burns, permanent damage and scarring appear after one minute contact, burns after one minute contact or hot water immersion for the average adult
  • 150 degrees rapid burns and blistering
  • 160 degrees rapid burns and blistering after contact with surface or water immersion. Nerve damage is possible.

Dog Paw Burn Prevention

  • Walk your dog during the early morning hours or late at night, to give the concrete time to cool.
  • If Fido wants to walk in the grass, let him!
  • By walking your dog often they build up calluses on their pads, these act as insulators providing a few degrees of protection and helps prevent blisters.
  • Moisturize with Musher’s Secret, to prevent cuts.

Screen Shot 2013-06-13 at 9.43.19 AMTreating your dog’s burned pads

  • Wash with antibacterial soap and pat dry with towel
  • Apply antibiotic ointment over the damaged area and wrap with gauze then pull a sock up the foot and leg to keep the dog from chewing on the bandage.
  • Take him to the vet to get checked


Click to access DogTemperatureArticle_09jun2010.pdf


Photos from Google.


One thought on “When is it too hot for your dog? {summer pet care tips}

  1. Pingback: Summer Pet Care

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