Walking Dogs in Hot Weather- All You Need to Know

Read time: 6 mins

25 May 2023

We’ve put together some pawesome advice to help you decide if you should walk your dog in hot weather and if so, how to safely prevent things like burnt paws, dehydration and heatstroke from happening. We’ve got your back pooches.

Should I Walk My Dog in Hot Weather?

Walking dogs in hot temperatures can be risky. It is much better to try and entertain them indoors, where it is cool. However, it can be perfectly safe to walk your dog in warm weather, as long as sensible measures are taken. 

Keep your dog hydrated

Before heading out on a walk, make sure your pup is well-hydrated. Always bring water and a travel bowl to offer frequent water breaks throughout the walk.

Choose routes that aren’t in direct sunlight

Opt for shaded routes that minimise the time spent in direct sunlight. Look for paths with grass or dirt instead of hot pavements. Parks with access to water sources, like lakes or streams, can be pawfect for your pup to cool off during the walk.

Dress your pooch appropriately

Choose lightweight and breathable harnesses or collars that allow for air circulation, preventing excessive heat retention. Avoid metal collars or lead attachments that can heat up when exposed to the sun.

To protect their precious paws, consider using dog booties or paw balms to shield them from hot surface damage.

What Temperature is Too Hot to Walk Dogs?

Safe walking temperatures can vary based on a dog’s age, breed and general health. For example, breeds with thicker coats designed to retain heat are more likely to struggle with higher temperatures, compared to those with light coats.

As a guideline, we would not recommend walking your dog if the outside temperature is above 32°C (90°F).

If you’re unsure, try the five second hand rule. Hold the back of your hand against the pavement for at least five seconds. If you cannot do so comfortably, then it’s too hot to walk your dog. Imagine their poor paws trying to withstand that for the full duration of a walk. 

To beat the heat, plan your walks during the cooler parts of the day, such as early morning or late evening.

Avoid peak sun hours between 10am and 4pm, as pavements can become scorching hot, potentially causing discomfort and burns to your pooch’s paws. Your dog is more likely to be susceptible to heatstroke and exhaustion during these times, too.

If you get caught by the sun whilst you’re out and about, try to find a large tree and sit in its shade to give your dog a chance to cool down.

How to Cool a Dog Down in Hot Weather

There are lots of different techniques you can try to help your dog cool down. Their bodies are pretty clever and will attempt to do this naturally but sometimes they need a bit of help.

Provide fresh water at all times

Ensure your dog always has access to cool and clean water. Refill it frequently throughout the day to keep the water temperature down.

Create shade

Set up shaded areas in your back garden using things like umbrellas, canopies, or blankets. This will give your dog a cool spot to relax and escape the direct heat of the sun.

Frozen treats

Offer frozen treats, such as dog-friendly ice cream or frozen fruit puree. You can also add ice cubes to their water bowl or freeze their favourite toys, a frozen cuddly hot water bottle if you will.

You could even give one of our Bish Bash Broth Pops a go. Simply gather together some ice moulds and one of our signature Bish Bash Broths. Pour the broth (direct from the carton) into the ice moulds and pop into the freezer for an hour. Remove from the freezer and let your pooch dig in.

Remember, they may need a hand (or paw) holding the ice mould! 

Signs of Heatstroke in Dogs

Dogs are particularly prone to heatstroke due to their reduced ability to cool down. They actually sweat through glands in their paws, which is why it’s so important to prevent paws from getting burnt. Panting is another method of cooling down, but too much panting could be a red flag.

Heatstroke can be life-threatening to dogs. Their body temperature rises to dangerously high levels which can cause their internal organs to fail.

Signs of heatstroke to look out for:

• Excessive panting

• Laboured breathing

• High temperature (above 40°C / 104°F)

• Excessive drooling

• Sunken eyes

• Lethargy

• Dizziness

• Lack of coordination

• Collapse

• Vomiting

• Diarrhoea

• Rapid heartbeat

How to Treat Heatstroke in Dogs 

If you suspect that your dog might have heatstroke, contact your vet immediately. Your dog might need to be provided with fluids to help them recover. In the meantime you can try some of the following remedies:


• Move them to a cool, shaded area away from direct sunlight

• Wet your dog’s body with cool (not freezing) water, around 15-16°C

• Monitor their temperature


• Cover them with anything, even a wet towel, as this will trap heat

• Pour water on your dog’s head, there is a risk of them inhaling water which can lead to drowning

• Give them ice, a quick change in temperature can make heatstroke worse, instead give them cool (not freezing) water

Can Hot Weather Cause Diarrhoea in Dogs?

Walking dogs in hot weather does not directly cause diarrhoea. However, the effect that hot weather has on the body can contribute to gastrointestinal upset and potentially lead to diarrhoea in dogs.

1. Dehydration, from increased heat exposure and lack of water intake, can lead to changes in the consistency of poop.

2. Drinking contaminated water during walks can introduce bacteria or parasites into your dog’s system, leading to stomach upset.

3. Heat stress can send a dog’s digestive system shock. 

To minimise the possibility of diarrhoea whilst walking your dog in hot weather, make sure that they have access to clean drinking water before, during and after their walk. Take breaks in shaded areas to prevent overheating and avoid walking during the hottest parts of the day. It’s also impawtent to keep an eye on what your dog eats during walks, try to prevent them from ingesting anything that could upset their stomach.

Alternatives Exercise Options in Hot Weather

When the temperature is soaring outside, consider alternative ways to keep your pup active without subjecting them to the heat. Indoor games, puzzle toys, or interactive play sessions in a shaded back garden can provide mental and physical stimulation, while keeping your pup cool and comfortable.

Butternut Box Vet Nurse Helpline

Butternut Box customers get free, 24/7 access to our Vet Nurse Helpline. That means help is available at all times, even for the smallest of worries. If you need advice on walking your dog during hot weather, or are worried that they might have heatstroke, they can provide you with any guidance you may require.

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