A phrase that has stuck with me since my university days is that: “A dog never died from missing a walk”. Many owners feel pressured into walking their dog every day, but this can do more harm than good when the weather is hot.

Different dogs will tolerate different temperatures and those who are very young, very old, unwell or short-nosed (brachycephalic) are less tolerant of hot days. All dogs should tolerate up to 20c, but some more susceptible individuals may struggle as the thermometer climbs.

What time is best to walk your dog on a hot day?
The ideal time to walk is in the morning, before the sun has warmed the ground. Evening is next best, as the day cools down.

What are the risks of walking your dog in heat?
Walking in heat can lead to mild dehydration, lethargy, paw burns and even heat stroke.

What signs will your dog show?
Early signs of heat stroke include excessive panting, a ‘glazed over’ look in the eyes, red gums and tongue, drooling restlessness and runny poo. If heat stroke progresses, we may see additional signs such as weakness, collapse and trouble breathing.

What to do in the case of heat stroke?
Avoid heat stroke by walking in the shade during cooler parts of the day and skipping walks when it is too hot. Keep your dog happy from home with e.g. a paddling pool in the garden, cool mat to relax on, scenting games, food puzzle and interactive toys.

If your dog starts to show signs of heat stroke, cool them off right away by pouring cool water over them (not their head) and using fans. Do not put a wet towel on them, as this traps heat beside their body. Bring them to the nearest vet clinic immediately; calling ahead to let them know you’re on your way.

Dr Linda Simon