18Jun 2019

Dog Heat Index Q&A: Can I Walk My Dog When It’s Hot? Can I Leave My Dog In The Car? How Can I Tell If My Dog Is Dehydrated?

Dog Heat Index Q&A

Related T.P.P Article:  How Long Can My Dog Stay Outside In The Heat For?

Can I Walk My Dog When It’s Hot?

Have you ever wondered when too hot is too hot?  Sometimes, depending on the weather, there is such a thing.  Humidity can play a factor as well as the temperature and even the grounds that your dog is walking on.  For instance, if it’s 77 degree’s and your dog is walking on asphalt, the temperature of the asphalt can be as high as 125 degrees. This means that skin destruction can occur in as little as 60 seconds. Putting it into perspective, an egg can fry in 5 minutes at 131 degrees.

Your dog can be walked in just about any temperature.  It’s all about monitoring the exposure and ensuring the grounds aren’t a conductor of heat.  Grass is fine, cement is okay too, asphalt is generally speaking – a no no.  It’s also advisable in extreme heat (90+ degrees) to only keep your dog outside for 3-7 minutes and to ensure that they have plenty of water to stay hydrated.

Can I Leave My Dog In The Car?

Yes & no.  It’s always advisable to not leave your dog in the car – unless absolutely necessary.  However, in those times of need, it’s imperative that the windows are rolled down (or the air conditioning is left on).

On a 78 degree day the temperature inside of your vehicle can get up to 120 degrees in minutes and up to 160 degrees within 10 minutes on a 90 degree day. Your dog can die of a heat stroke within 15 minutes. Signs and symptoms of heatstroke are excessive thirst, thick saliva, restlessness & rapid heartbeat.

How Can I Tell If My Dog Is Dehydrated?

  • Loss of appetite
  • Reduced energy levels and/or lethargy
  • Panting
  • Sunken, dry-looking eyes
  • Dry nose and gums
  • Loss of skin elasticity

Some of these are obvious to the naked eye, but others, like skin elasticity, require a simple test.

To test for dehydration in dogs, gently pinch their skin between your thumb and forefinger. In well-hydrated dogs, the skin will spring back to its original position. The skin of dehydrated dogs, on the other hand, will take longer to fall back into place.

It is a good idea to test your dog’s skin when you are sure your dog is well hydrated, so that you have a base for what normal skin elasticity for your dog feels like. This is especially important for owners of wrinkly breeds, such as Bulldogs or Neapolitan Mastiffs, because their wrinkly skin might be misleading.

You can also test your dog’s gums for dehydration. Dogs’ gums are normally nice and moist, and in some cases, positively slimy. Dry, tacky-feeling gums, on the other hand, are a symptom of dehydration. If you’ve ever experienced a dry mouth as a side effect of a medication, then you have an idea of what this feels like.

As you are feeling your dog’s gums, you can also test for capillary refill time. Press your finger gently against your dog’s gums, and then remove your finger. In hydrated dogs, the area where you pressed will appear white for a second, and then return to its normal pink color almost immediately. In dehydrated dogs, the capillary refill time takes much longer.

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