It's Getting Hot! Protecting Your Dog From Increasing Temperatures

Posted by Jesse Tilner on

It's Getting Hot! Protecting Your Dog From Increasing Temperatures


Hot Paws: Understanding Heat Risks for Your Canine Companion

As summer temperatures soar, it's crucial for dog owners to understand how heat affects their furry friends. While we might enjoy basking in the sun, our canine companions can quickly become uncomfortable and even dangerously overheated. Let's explore the impact of heat on dogs and why ground temperature is a often-overlooked hazard.

How Heat Affects Dogs

Unlike humans, dogs can't sweat through their skin to regulate their body temperature. Instead, they primarily cool themselves by panting. This makes them more susceptible to heat-related illnesses, such as:

  1. Heat exhaustion: Symptoms include excessive panting, drooling, weakness, and vomiting.
  2. Heatstroke: A life-threatening condition where body temperature rises above 104°F (40°C), potentially causing organ failure.
  3. Dehydration: Rapid water loss that can lead to serious health issues if not addressed promptly.

Certain dogs are at higher risk, including brachycephalic breeds (like Bulldogs and Pugs), elderly dogs, overweight dogs, and those with thick coats.

The Hidden Danger: Hot Ground

While air temperature is important, many pet owners overlook a significant heat source: the ground beneath their dog's paws. Asphalt, concrete, and even sand can reach scorching temperatures much faster than you might expect. Consider these facts:

  • When air temperature is 77°F (25°C), asphalt in the sun can reach 125°F (52°C).
  • At 87°F (31°C) air temperature, the ground can hit 143°F (62°C).
  • Serious burns can occur to a dog's paw pads in as little as 60 seconds on surfaces over 120°F (49°C).

Remember, if it's too hot for your bare feet, it's too hot for your dog's paws!

Protecting Your Pup

To keep your dog safe in hot weather:

  1. Walk during cooler hours: Early morning or late evening are best.
  2. Check the pavement: Place the back of your hand on the ground for 5 seconds. If it's too hot for you, it's too hot for your dog.
  3. Stick to grass and shaded areas when possible.
  4. Consider dog booties for protection on hot surfaces.
  5. Always provide access to fresh water and shade.
  6. Never leave your dog in a parked car, even with windows cracked.

Recognizing Heat Distress

Watch for signs of heat-related illness:

  • Excessive panting or drooling
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Lethargy or disorientation
  • Vomiting or diarrhea
  • Collapse

If you suspect your dog is suffering from heat exhaustion or heatstroke, move them to a cool area immediately, offer water, and contact your veterinarian right away.


As temperatures rise, it's our responsibility to keep our canine companions safe and comfortable. By understanding how heat affects dogs and being mindful of ground temperatures, we can ensure our furry friends enjoy the summer months as much as we do. Remember, when in doubt, it's best to keep your dog in a cool, comfortable environment during the hottest parts of the day.