Tips for walking your dog safely in the summer

July 13, 2022

The sun is shining and temperatures are beginning to rise. So we thought we'd share our top tips for handling the heat when going walkies with your pup this summer.

Be an early riser or a night owl!

The safest time to walk your dog in the summer months is either early morning or late evening. However, it is worth paying close attention to the temperature. Most dogs are safe walking in temperatures of up to 19℃ (68℉), but be careful when the mercury rises above this. Check the humidity too - some dogs struggle to cool themselves down when there is extra moisture in the air.

Know your pooch

Although most dogs can safely exercise when the mercury is at 19℃  or lower, keep a much closer eye on pets that are older, overweight, or have shortened snouts (also referred to as brachycephalic breeds). Dogs that fall into any these three categories often find it much harder to handle the heat, and this can be aggravated or elevated by longer walks or more intense exercise.

Recognise the signs of heatstroke

Dogs cool down very differently to people. They don’t sweat in the same way we do, which is why they pant to help keep themselves cool. However, the effectiveness of panting is reduced when the temperature soars and humidity skyrockets.

Heatstroke can result in serious (and sometimes fatal) complications for dogs. Watch out for tell-tale signs such as rapid panting, excessive drooling, sticky gums and even collapsing. If you suspect your dog is suffering from heatstroke, seek immediate veterinary attention.

Do the pavement test

Pavements can get dangerously hot in the summer. The best way to tell if a pavement is too hot for your dog to walk on is to place the back of your hand on it for seven seconds. If it's too painful for your hand, then it's too painful for your dog's paws.

Natural grass is best!

We've already established that hot pavements, especially those which are tarmac or asphalt, can be dangerous for sensitive paws. The most ideal surface for your four-legged friends to walk on when the temperature rises is natural grass*. If you don't have any grassy areas close to home, travel to a nearby dog park with an enclosed field, or woodland areas that permit doggos!

*Avoid artificial grass (astroturf) as the surface temperature can skyrocket when the sun's rays are at their strongest. Artificial grass is just as dangerous as pavements for sensitive paws in the heat. 

…But watch out for grass seeds and other nasties

Walking in areas with long grass can be lots of fun in the summer months. But tiny grass seeds or foxtails have the potential to cause lots of painful problems for your pooch. Check your dog’s paws and fur immediately after walking in grassy areas, as the pointy ends of the seeds can pierce the skin and, in some cases, travel to other areas of the body. 

If you suspect your dog has been affected by grass seeds or foxtails, contact your vet immediately.

Be prepared

Always make sure you carry water with you - it’s important to keep your pooch (and yourself) properly hydrated on walks in the summer months. If you’re able to, try and stick to routes that offer plenty of shade in case you need to pause for a rest.

A quick note to say...

Though it may seem like there's a lot to be wary of, there's nothing more enjoyable than a picturesque summer walk with your favourite furry friend. Just remember to stay safe and look out for each other! 

A small brown and white dog wearing a Dogstar bandana stands against a grass background. The caption reads: Go Walkies Challenge.

Join our July Dog Walking Challenge!

Go Walkies with your favourite puppy pal and help us raise some funds for the street dogs you love!

Sign up to walk 50, 75 or 100KM throughout the month of July and claim your FREE doggy bandana today.

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