How to tell if your dog is too hot
What temperature is too hot to walk my dog?
Just as our pets can be affected by the cold, they also can suffer in extreme heat.
While many dogs love nothing more than lazing in the sunshine and frolicking at the dog beach, some dogs do better than others at coping with the heat. Just like humans, the less layers in summer, the better.
Dogs with thinner coats, short hair, or lighter-coloured fur such as greyhounds, chihuahuas, Australian cattle dogs, Airedales, and Yorkshire terriers, tend to fare better in the heat.
While different breeds, sizes and ages of dogs will have their own unique requirements, dogs can be affected by heat. If it is over 25 degrees, it is a good idea to do a sidewalk ‘test.’ Before heading for a walk, try and hold the palm of your hand on the pavement for five seconds. If it is too hot for you, it is too hot for your dog's paws to walk on.
How can I tell if my dog is too hot?
Dr Warren says there are signs to look out for to know if your dog is too hot or overheating. As well as “excessive panting and shortness of breath” she advises to look out for “excessive drooling, changes in gum colour or tongue (bright or dark red), elevated body temperature, increased pulse and heartbeat, and excessive thirst.”
How can I help my dog stay cool?
To try and avoid your dog overheating, Dr Warren says there are steps you can take to keep them cool and hydrated.
“Your dog must always have access to shade and freshwater,” she says. Ideally, she recommends that it is best to “keep your dog out of the sun between 11.00am and 3.00pm,” which are usually the hottest periods of the day. If it will be hot, she advises to “bring all pets indoors,” where they can stay cool and hydrated.
If you know in advance that it will be a hot day, she also says that it is best to either “walk your dog in the early morning or late evening” to avoid overheating.
Dogs in cars
In addition to the other legal obligations when driving with your dog, remember never to leave your dog in a hot car. The RSPCA refers to a study that found that the interior of a vehicle can climb from 20 to 44 degrees in the space of 10 minutes.
Just six minutes left in a hot car is all it takes for dogs to suffer heatstroke, dehydration, brain damage, or death.
If you accidentally lock your dog in the car, call RACV Emergency Roadside Assistance.
If you see an animal in distress in a hot car, the RSPCA recommends calling 000 immediately.
What should I do if my dog is overheating?
If your dog is showing signs of overheating, Dr Warren says that you should immediately move them “to a cool place and spray them with cool (but not cold) water.”
The aim is to cool your dog down, so she says you should also look to place them, if possible, within an air conditioned or fanned space. If your dog wears a muzzle, this should be wiped with cold water.
If your dog shows no signs of improvement, Dr Warren recommends taking your pet to your vet immediately.