March 26, 2024 5 min read

As temperatures rise during the summer months, pet parents must be vigilant and protect their dogs from the dangers of overheating. Just like you need to consider how to keep your dog warm in winter, you must think about how to help them stay cool in summer. 

Dogs are susceptible to heatstroke, a life-threatening condition that can occur when their body temperature rises to dangerous levels. We aim to answer how hot is too hot for dogs and provide essential tips for keeping your canine companion safe in hot weather. 

What Are Heatstroke and Overheating?

Heatstroke is a serious condition when a dog's body temperature rises above normal levels and cannot be regulated effectively. Dogs can’t sweat like humans do, making them more vulnerable to overheating, especially in hot and humid conditions. 

When a dog's body temperature exceeds 104°F, they are at risk of heatstroke, which can lead to organ failure and even death if left untreated. Recognizing the signs of heatstroke is crucial for pet parents to intervene promptly and prevent further complications. Symptoms may include excessive panting, drooling, weakness, vomiting, diarrhea, and collapse. 

If you suspect your dog is experiencing heatstroke, it's essential to take immediate action to cool them down and seek veterinary care as soon as possible.

How Hot Is Too Hot for Dogs?

Determining how hot is too hot for dogs depends on various factors, including your dog’s breed, age, and overall health. As a general rule of thumb, temperatures above 90°F pose a higher risk of heat-related illnesses for dogs, especially those with thick fur coats or short snouts, such as brachycephalic breeds like Bulldogs and Pugs.

Remember that dogs cool themselves primarily through panting and dissipating heat through their paw pads. Hot pavement can reach scorching temperatures, causing burns and discomfort for dogs. 

To test if the pavement is safe for your pooch, place the back of your hand on the surface for a few seconds. If it's too hot for your hand, it's too hot for your dog's paws.

How Can You Protect Your Dog in Hot Weather?

When temperatures soar, taking proactive measures is crucial to keep your dog cool and comfortable. Provide access to shade and plenty of fresh water, ensuring your dog stays hydrated throughout the day. Limit outdoor activities during the hottest parts of the day, opting for early morning or late evening walks when temperatures are cooler.

Invest in pet-friendly cooling products, such as cooling mats or vests, to help regulate your dog's body temperature. Avoid leaving your dog in parked cars, as temperatures inside a vehicle can escalate rapidly, leading to heatstroke and death. 

For pet parents who live in really hot places, investing in a smart indoor dog potty will provide you with a convenient solution for your dog when it is too hot to take them outside to relieve themselves. 

What Are Signs of Heatstroke and How Should You Respond?

Recognizing the signs of heatstroke is crucial for pet parents to take prompt action and prevent further complications. Early detection and intervention can save your dog's life, so it's essential to be vigilant, especially during hot weather. 

Excessive Panting

Dogs regulate their body temperature primarily through panting. If you notice your dog panting excessively, especially in conjunction with other symptoms, it could indicate overheating.

Excessive Drooling

Excessive drooling beyond what is typical for your dog may signal heat exhaustion or heatstroke. Monitor your pet closely if you observe this behavior.

Vomiting or Diarrhea

Heatstroke can lead to gastrointestinal distress, resulting in vomiting and diarrhea. This can further dehydrate your dog and worsen their condition.

Bright Red Gums or Tongue

Heatstroke can cause the gums and tongue to become bright red or even purple. Check your dog's oral cavity for signs of abnormal discoloration.

If you suspect your dog is experiencing heat stroke, it's essential to take immediate action to cool them down and seek veterinary care as soon as possible. Remember, heatstroke is a life-threatening emergency that requires swift action. 

How Can You Protect High-Risk Breeds and Older Dogs?

Certain dog breeds and older dogs are more susceptible to heatstroke and overheating due to their physiological characteristics and age-related factors. It's crucial for pet parents of these high-risk groups to take extra precautions to keep their dogs safe during hot weather. 

Know Your Dog's Breed

Breeds with short muzzles, such as bulldogs, pugs, and other brachycephalic breeds, are at a higher risk of heatstroke due to their anatomical structure. These breeds have difficulty regulating their body temperature through panting, making them more prone to overheating. 

Limit Outdoor Activities

During hot weather, reduce outdoor activities for high-risk breeds and older dogs, particularly during the hottest parts of the day. Go for early morning or late evening walks when temperatures are cooler and the sun is less intense.

Provide Shade and Shelter

Ensure your dog has access to shaded areas and sheltered spaces where they can retreat from the sun's heat. Set up outdoor shelters or bring your dog indoors during peak heat hours to prevent overheating.

Use Dog Booties

Protect your dog's paw pads from hot pavement and surfaces by using dog booties or walking on grassy areas. Hot pavement can quickly heat up and cause burns on your dog's sensitive paw pads, leading to discomfort and injury.

Keep Your Home Cool

Maintain a comfortable indoor environment for your dog by using air conditioning or fans to regulate the temperature. Ensure proper ventilation and airflow throughout your home to prevent heat buildup, especially in areas where your dog spends most of their time. 

Consider getting a BrillitantPad indoor dog potty to use as an alternative when it is dangerously hot to take your dog outside to go to the bathroom. It is a good idea to acclimate your dog to an indoor potty solution from the beginning, ensuring they have somewhere to utilize, whether it’s hot outside or not. 

Beat the Heat: Keeping Your Canine Cool and Safe in Summer

As pet parents, it's our responsibility to protect our dogs from the dangers of overheating and heatstroke, especially during the scorching summer months. If you stay informed about the signs of heat-related illnesses and implement preventive measures, you can ensure our dogs stay safe and comfortable in hot weather. 

Remember to provide plenty of shade and fresh water and avoid strenuous activities during the hottest parts of the day. Pay close attention to your dog's behavior and watch for signs of distress, such as excessive panting or weakness. 

If you suspect your dog is overheating, take immediate action to cool them down and seek veterinary care if necessary. With proper care and vigilance, we can enjoy the summer season with our dogs while keeping them happy, healthy, and safe from the heat.


Dog Heatstroke Treatment - Dog First Aid | RSPCA

THE COST OF CUTENESS Health and Welfare Issues Associated with Brachycephalic Dog Breeds | Humane Society Veterinary Medical Association

Dog Drooling: When It’s Cause for Concern | American Kennel Club

Hot Asphalt – A Danger to your Dog’s Paws - FOUR PAWS International