Hot Weather Safety for Dogs

Updated: 2/23/24

On very hot, humid days, the safest place for your dog is indoors, ideally in the air conditioning. If you take your dog with you, it’s important to keep your pup hydrated and to watch for signs of heatstroke, which include heavy panting, excessive drooling, bright red gums, hot skin, and incoordination. At the first hint of heatstroke, play it safe and head to your local veterinary ER. If an overheated dog isn’t cooled off quickly, serious complications like organ failure and death can occur.

You might be tempted to give your pet a buzz cut in the summer months. A trim is fine, but be sure to keep your pet’s coat at least an inch long. Your dog’s fur coat is designed to keep your pup cool during the summer and warm in the winter. By shaving your dog, you may interfere with this built-in temperature regulation.

It’s important to be aware that hot pavement can do serious damage to your dog’s paw pads. Play it safe and schedule walks for early morning or in the evening. If midday walks are unavoidable, try booties or paw wax.  

When the outdoor temperature hits the 80s, pavement temperature can climb to a staggering 135 degrees, which can burn paw pads in just a few minutes. Here's an easy way to test whether the pavement is too hot: place the back of your hand on the surface for seven seconds. If it's uncomfortable for you, it's too hot for your dog. Play it safe and go for walks in the morning or evening. If midday walks are unavoidable, use dog booties or paw wax.