How Hot Is Too Hot For Dogs?

When the summer temps become unbearable, humans can wear clothing made from light, moisture-wicking materials, and we can wear less clothing to keep cool. Dogs don’t have the luxury of shedding their coats to maintain their body temps. In this post, we answer frequently asked questions about dogs and summer heat, including: How hot is too hot for dogs? Can dogs overheat?

Can Dogs Overheat?

Yes, dogs can overheat. Like humans, dogs can suffer from heat exhaustion, heat stroke or even sudden death if exposed to sweltering weather for extended periods. Although any dog can run into trouble with high temperatures, a few risk factors, such as age (puppies and seniors), obesity, dark-colored coats, and size can put a dog at a higher risk for overheating. Small dogs tend to fare better than large or giant breeds in extreme heat.

However, for dog breeds that overheat easily, such as brachycephalic breeds, size doesn’t matter. Their flattened noses make breathing difficult, especially in hot and humid temperatures.

Dogs with thicker or darker colored coats will also have more issues with high temperatures than those with short, thin, or light-colored fur. To help protect your pet, you must know the signs of overheating.

How Hot is Too Hot for Dogs?

Over time, some dogs may adjust to living in warmer climates. However, in general, outdoor temps above 75° F may affect your pet. Exposure to temperatures above the average canine body temperature of 100° to 103° F can quickly cause trouble.

Humidity, too, can play a part in a dog overheating. If the outdoor temperature is under 100° F, but the humidity is high, your dog may struggle to cool down. This is especially true if your pet is playing or exercising. Even walking your dog can prove dangerous as cement, red brick, and blacktop pavement temps run about 30 to 50° F hotter than the air temperature. If the walking surface is too hot, it can burn a dog’s paw pads in seconds. So, what’s a comfortable temperature for dogs? Although there is no absolute for how hot is too hot for dogs, for most dogs, 45 to 65° F weather are safe temperatures for dogs.

How to Tell If a Dog is Overheating?

To protect your pet from serious medical issues due to overheating, you should learn to recognize symptoms of over heating. Any time your pet is outdoors, watch for the following, as any can indicate trouble:

  • Excessive panting
  • Drooling
  • Lethargy
  • Increased thirst
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Bright red gums and tongue

If your dog’s body temperature rises too high, you may notice your pet stumbling, collapsing, losing consciousness, or having seizures⁠—all of which warrant immediate veterinary care. When you don’t see symptoms of overheating, or you’re just unsure whether your pet is overheated, taking your dog’s temperature rectally with a digital thermometer can help. Anything above 104° F, get your pet into a cooler setting and seek emergency vet care.

How to Keep Dogs Safe When It’s Hot Outside

Fortunately, there are several things you can do as a pet parent to protect your dog from overheating when outside.

  • ALWAYS keep your dog hydrated with fresh, cool water. Bring along a water bowl so your pet can stop and take a drink whenever thirsty.
  • Bring some ice cubes, pupsicles, or doggy ice cream to help your dog cool down.
  • Provide a cool place for your dog to lay, whether it be a shaded tree, cooling mat, cool, wet towel, or in front of a portable fan.
  • Consider cooler exercises like swimming or running through a sprinkler instead of a walk.
  • Consult your vet about trimming your dog’s coat shorter for the summer.
  • Walk or play with your pet during the cooler early morning or later evening hours.
  • Take frequent breaks.
  • Dress your canine companion with doggie booties for walks on pavement.

Above all else, NEVER leave your dog in a car in the summer, even with the windows cracked or the car running and the air conditioner on. Once outdoor temps reach the 70s, the temperature in the vehicle can rise rapidly. Figures shared by the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) show the interior of a car can heat up even in cooler temps like 70° F. At this temperature, the inside of a car would feel like 90° F (in 10 minutes) to 105° F (in 30 minutes). On the other hand, a warmer 85° F day could have a car interior feeling like 102° F and 120° F, respectively.

Recognizing the signs of overheating and protecting your pet from extreme temperatures can help ensure you both enjoy fun in the sun this summer.

Quick Answers Regarding Heat and Dogs

Is 80 degrees too hot to talk a dog? Our research says yes. NCRAOA says 68 degrees is the safest temperature. If it’s too hot outside for you, it’s too hot for your dog. Check with your veterinarian if you have concerns about overheating your dog. A short walk on a shady street in 80-degree might be safer than a long walk on a sunny 80-degree sun-drenched beach, for example.

What temperature is too hot for a dog in a house? The AKC says dogs can start overheating when the ambient air is 81 degrees F or higher. Dogs’ normal temperature is around 101 degrees, so they’re going to need inside air to be cooler.

How hot is too hot for dog paws on sidewalks? Again, we turn to the AKC, which says in general, when the air outside is hotter than 70 degrees, it’s likely that sidewalks and pavement are too hot.

What is the ideal temperature for dogs? Ideal temperatures for dogs depend on their breed, size, overall health, age and what they’re acclimated to. Your vet can answer the question specific to your breed. Generally speaking, dogs do better when ambient temperatures do not exceed 85 degrees. So the ideal range is between 68 degrees F and 85 degrees F, according to Purdue University Extension.

Photo 24073397 / Dog Jason A. Paul |