How Hot is too Hot?

How Hot is too Hot?

by: Judy Lore, AVHS Volunteer Columnist

On these warm or hot summer days our Willow dog loves to romp through the
woods, but if she’s too warm she simply runs from one shady spot to the next
shady spot and we return to the car and cut that walk short. Returning she knows
there is a pool she can wade in and water she can drink. As dogs don’t sweat, she
still pants for a while after her walk. As do I.

Walking her in town is a whole other story. What temperatures are too high or
too hot for a dog? You can easily test the surface temperatures by stepping on
surface with your bare feet or use your hand. Too hot for you? Then too hot for
your pup. Especially if your dog is still a puppy.

Asphalt in particular heats up to incredibly hot temps. If air temperature is 77
degrees, asphalt heats up to 125 degrees. Skin destruction begins at this stage. At
87 degrees asphalt is 143 degrees. We’d all agree that’s much too hot for you or
your dog.

Suggestions for protecting your dog’s paws in hot weather: walking on pavement
in cool weather to toughen up the paws, using a product meant to moisturize a
dog’s paws and prevent cracking, dog shoes which will take some time for a dog
to get used to walking in and should be snug but not tight, early morning or
evening walk times, and investing in a wading pool, but not a child’s plastic one a
dog can rip up.

Dehydration is a potential issue on hot summer days. Heat stress and heatstroke
symptoms include: confusion, excess drooling, bright red, blue or purple gums,
dizziness, rectal bleeding, refusing to drink water, lethargy, loss of consciousness,

What to do? Find shade, place ice packs under front feet near chest, pourcool
water over head and body, give water to drink, find a cool spot or an air-
conditioned place, place a wet towel over dog’s body. In some severe cases, get

to your veterinarian quickly. Short-legged, small and flat-faced dogs are more
susceptible to overheating.

While we’re on the subject of dogs and heat we all need to be reminded of
leaving a dog in a car during hot weather. Colorado law allows a person to break a
car window to release a suffering pet in a hot car. If it’s 85 degrees air
temperature outside, it’s 104 inside the car. I read about babies being left in hot
cars for hours and parent returns to a dead child. I don’t really understand how
this happens if you are paying attention but it does. So… let’s stay alert and use
common sense with all of our loved ones.


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