26Jul 2018

How Long Can My Dog Stay Outside In The Heat For?

summer heat


How Long Can My Dog Stay Outside In The Heat For?

Never ever leave your dog inside of a vehicle.  Even if the windows are down and the temperature is 70 degrees or less, with the sun baking on the vehicle the temperature inside can easily rise over 100 degrees.  This is one of the biggest factors of dehydration and heat stroke to dogs and should be avoided at all costs!

When it’s 70 degrees outside, it’s too hot to leave a dog in the car.

Can my dog overheat?

Your dog only has two ways to cool down.  One is to pant which sends hot air from the lungs over the tongue.  Dogs cool themselves by panting, passing hot air from their lungs over their moist tongue, but even this isn’t efficient because the muscle activity involved in panting itself generates heat. Plus, dogs do not sweat like people do, the only sweat glands they have are on the bottoms of their feet.

My dog is extremely active, what now?

If you have a dog that enjoys to dig around in the backyard and race like a madman then make sure that the pool is filled (or have a hose) and that there’s a nice amount of water nearby for him to drink.

Signs of heat exhaustion and heat stroke!

An overweight dog is a dog to keep a close eye on.  Dogs that spend the majority of their time indoors are at extreme risks of heat stroke.  Even if a dog is an outside dog, you need to ensure that he/she has plenty of shelter, fresh cool water and food to drink on regular intervals.

When is a good time to walk my dog?

It’s best to walk your dog during the cool of the day, in the early morning or after sunset.

Are there any dogs in particular that are at higher risk for heat stroke?

Short-nose dogs like bulldogs and pugs, and dogs that are older or overweight have an especially difficult time cooling themselves by panting, putting them at higher risk for heat stroke.

What are other heat risks I should be concerned about?


Dogs with pink skin showing through white fur are at risk of sunburn, and should be protected with sunscreen, or left indoors during the heat of the day.


Dogs walked on hot pavement risk serious burns to their pads. If the pavement is too hot for you to walk on with bare feet, it’s too hot for your dog to walk on. Hold your hand on the pavement for 7-10 seconds to test the temperature.

I got it, Dr. Magnusson – overheating is bad! But I’m used to exercising my dog, how do I know when enough is enough?

It’s important to be aware of the early signs of heat exhaustion, which include rapid breathing, weakness and excessive salivation. If you see any of these signs, you need to take your dog into the shade, try offering some cool water, and use that same cool water to douse the dog’s feet. Further signs that you may need to seek veterinary care include pale or dry gums, muscle tremors, disorientation, or staggering.

Do NOT throw your dog in an ice bath, or you risk hypothermia. A slow, steady return to normal body temperature is best. A dog’s normal internal body temperature is between 100 – 102.5F, so if you happen to have a rectal thermometer to check your dog’s temperature during cooling, stop cooling efforts when you get to 103F.

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