Five-second test to check if it’s too hot to take your dog for a walk

While our dogs may enjoy sunbathing almost as much as we do, sunny days aren’t always ideal for our pets.

In reality, warmer temperatures can be dangerous for dogs, leading to heatstroke and dehydration.

With the UK set to have its hottest day to date, it’s important that owners assess the weather and decide whether or not it’s too hot to go outside.

Canine expert, Anna Bain, from leading raw dog food brand ProDog Raw , shares her advice for keeping your dog healthy and happy in the heat.

Anna said: “Generally speaking, hot weather is not the time for walkies. Instead, take your dog out when temperatures drop, make sure they’re drinking sufficiently, protect their paws, and consider their unique needs in the sun.”

Use the trusted ‘hand on pavement’ test
Dogs’ paws can very easily burn on hot pavement – just as our skin can.

You must check the temperature of the pavement to ensure it’s not too hot to be walking your furry friend.

Thankfully, this can be done very simply. Begin by placing the back of your hand on the pavement.

If you can hold it in this position for five seconds without burning, the pavement isn’t too hot for your dog’s paws.

Consider your dog’s unique needs
Every dog is different so when it comes to time in the sun, a ‘one size fits all’ approach certainly won’t work.

Are they older? Do they have underlying health conditions? Are they a brachycephalic breed?

All of these factors make dogs more susceptible to the heat, meaning they should be spending less time in the sun.

Similarly, if you own a puppy who’s an uncontrollable bundle of energy, then you will need to limit and monitor their time outside.

Puppies are more likely to exhaust themselves and overheat without realising

If your dog isn’t used to hotter temperatures, they will be more vulnerable to heatstroke – it can take dogs up to 60 days to acclimatise, so this can’t be solved quickly.

If this is the case, carefully think about how long your dog is spending outside.

Walk your dog at specific times
On hot days when the afternoons are stifling, you ought to consider when to walk your dog.

Always start with the five-second test (this is essential), but then think about how humid it is.

If it’s simply too hot, opt to instead walk them in the morning and/or evening, when temperatures are cooler.

Make sure they have water and shade
It’s vital that your dog is drinking lots of water on hot days, so make sure fresh water is always within easy reach.

Meanwhile, don’t let your dog spend too long in direct sunlight – where possible, encourage them to relax in the shade or inside with aircon.

Or, let them be a little boujee as they relax under a parasol.

Understand key signs of heatstroke
Heatstroke is a risk for any dog and whilst cases can range from mild to more severe, every instance can be dangerous.

If your dog is lethargic, restless, uncoordinated, has a high heart rate, diarrhoea, is excessively panting and drooling, and/or seems hotter than usual, be sure to call a vet as soon as possible.

In more mild cases, simple at-home solutions can help your dog if they’re struggling with the heat.

For example, take them inside where it’s cooler, let them lay on a wet towel or in a paddling pool, slowly pour room-temperature water onto their back, make frozen bone broth treats, and encourage them to drink regularly.