With more of us dealing with scorching hot temperatures, the question of when it is too hot for dogs or too hot to go for a walk becomes a pressing matter.
Heat-related conditions such as sunburn and heatstroke can endanger your pup’s life, and even being too warm inside the house or in the yard can create extreme discomfort.
Most dogs can handle temperatures up to 32°C (89.6°F). Above that, it usually becomes hot for our canines.
However, how much heat a dog can handle also depends on factors such as health, age, and weight.
Luckily, there’s a lot we can do to keep them safe from the sun and cool on hot days.
How Your Dog Regulates Its Body Temperature
To understand how your dog’s body handles heat, we need to look at the four mechanisms canines use to thermo-regulate. That is, to manage their core body heat.
The first of these is conduction. This is where your dog chooses to lay on cold tiles or dig a hole in the ground, where the earth is cooler.
Dogs generally have less hair on their bellies for precisely this reason, so that they can press their stomachs and chests against cooler areas and shed some of the excess heat through their skin.
The second mechanism is convection. This is access to a cool breeze from the wind or a fan that can penetrate your dog’s coat and replace the hot air either trapped in the fur or emanating from the body.
Owners should note that a thick and matted coat blocks cool air from entering and doing its job. So, coat maintenance and regular brushing are critical for long or double-coated breeds.
The third way your dog manages its coat is called radiation, and, no, it’s not the nuclear type. It is how the body releases heat into the environment.
As body temperature increases, blood flow to the skin increases too so that cool ground or good airflow will remove some excess heat.
Again, a poorly kept coat can undermine this process by trapping the skin’s heat close to the body.
Finally, the dog uses evaporation. This is done through sweat glands in its paws and increasing blood flow to the mouth, nose, ears, and skin.
The mouth and nose become the primary means of releasing heat as the hot blood in the nose and mouth is sent to meet the cooler air outside through panting.