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When is it too hot to walk my dog?

Determining when it's too hot to walk your dog depends on various factors such as breed, age, health, and the temperature and humidity levels outside. Dogs are more susceptible to heatstroke than humans due to their inability to sweat efficiently; they primarily dissipate heat through panting and limited sweating through their paw pads.

Generally, temperatures above 90°F (32°C) can be uncomfortable for most dogs, especially those with thick coats or brachycephalic breeds like Bulldogs or Pugs, which have difficulty breathing in hot weather. However, even if the temperature is below this threshold, high humidity can exacerbate heat stress because it hampers evaporation, hindering the cooling effect of panting.

Signs of heat stress in dogs include excessive panting, drooling, rapid heartbeat, lethargy, staggering, vomiting, and collapse. If you notice any of these signs, it's crucial to immediately move your dog to a cooler environment, offer water, and contact a veterinarian.

Before deciding to walk your dog in hot weather, consider the following:

  1. Time of Day: Avoid walking during the hottest parts of the day, typically between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. Opt for early morning or late evening walks when temperatures are cooler.

  2. Check the Pavement: Asphalt and concrete can get extremely hot and burn a dog's paw pads. Place your hand on the pavement for at least 10 seconds; if it's too hot for your hand, it's too hot for your dog's paws.

  3. Hydration: Ensure your dog has access to water before, during, and after the walk. Portable water bottles or collapsible bowls are handy for providing hydration on the go.

  4. Shade: Plan your route to include shaded areas where your dog can take breaks and cool down if needed.

  5. Shorter Walks: Consider shortening the duration of walks and engaging in less strenuous activities on hot days.

Ultimately, prioritize your dog's safety and well-being over exercise routines. If in doubt, it's better to skip the walk altogether and find indoor activities to keep your dog mentally and physically stimulated.

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