Involving our canine friends in outdoor activities that keep us active is important for bonding and exercise. But, what temperature is safe for a dog outside? Here are some key tips to think about when planning your outdoor adventures, rain or shine.

Hot Weather

It is always important to bring plenty of water for our furry friends on all our outings, as dogs can become dehydrated very quickly. Breaks in the shade may also be necessary for dogs that are brachycephalic, like pugs and boxers.

It is essential to pay attention to the signs of heat stroke, particularly for breeds more susceptible to impacted airways. Dogs with thick coats, such as Huskies or Bernese Mountain Dogs, are also more likely to overheat.

Keep an eye out for signs of heat stroke:

  • Dilated pupils
  • Labored breathing
  • Dizziness
  • Panting
  • Dehydration
  • Excessive drooling
  • Increased body temperature – above 103° F
  • Reddened gums and moist tissues of the body

If you plan on trekking outdoors on rough terrain, consider investing in some boots to protect the paw pads from burning. Paw pads are very sensitive and require veterinary care if burnt badly. Your dog will not appreciate the foot wraps during the weeks of healing that follow. Try to avoid blacktop pavement as much as possible if walking in a neighborhood.

Use this chart with temperature and dog size to see if it’s safe for your dog to go outside and play. Keep in mind, obesity, age, and humidity all play a role in your dog’s safety and can cause them to overheat quicker.

Lastly, please do not leave your dogs in hot cars. In over 26 states, leaving a dog unattended is a criminal charge. A person can also be tried for animal cruelty and neglect, which is a criminal charge in all 50 states.

what temperature is safe for dogs

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Cold Weather

When the snow falls, some dogs will beg to go outside, while others will refuse to brave the cold. Having a dog in a location with a long, icy winter is a big responsibility. Heavy coat dogs typically do very well outside in the cold for extended periods of time.

Smaller, short-coat dogs may need jackets and/or boots to help them survive for minutes outside in the cold. Try to walk during the warmest hours of the day to avoid the risk of hypothermia. Use a temperature chart to see if your dog may be at risk in cold weather.

When taking long walks outdoors, dogs can get frostbite, which is especially common in their paw pads. Again, investing in winter boots may be necessary depending on the breed of dog. Protective paw wax or booties can prevent the paw pads from being damaged by rock salt. Make sure the rock salt you use at home is pet-friendly! If not using booties, wipe their underbody and paws to avoid chemical ingestion.

You know your dog the best, and you always have their best interests at heart. Observe their body language and make the best call when it comes to knowing what temperature is safe for a dog to be outside. Keep these tips in mind, and let the adventuring commence!

Author

Caitlin is originally from Vermont and has been working with animals since she can remember. She studied Behavioral Neuroscience and is now Mastering in Animal Shelter Management in Colorado. Her hobbies include horseback riding, fostering animals, and hiking in the Rocky Mountains. She has volunteered at five different animal shelters and worked in three different vet hospitals. Her passions include animal health, behavior, and enrichment. Caitlin lives with her Chihuahua-Terrier mix, Norman, and currently works for a non-profit helping the pets of elderly and disabled: Pets Forever.

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