How hot is too hot?

The mercury is rising and the humidity is too, which means we must pay special attention to our furry friends to help prevent heatstroke. Dogs overheat much faster than you or I, thanks to a fur coat and a lack of sweat glands. Every year lots of dogs die from heatstroke from being left in cars or just outside on very hot or humid days. Dogs with heavier coats and short nosed (brachycephalic) dogs are more at risk but all dogs will overheat when its really hot.

Follow these charts to help keep your pets safe!


The above chart is for low humidity environments. So if its humid, like here in Wisconsin take into account the heat index rather than the absolute heat. Additionally asphalt and cement will burn your dogs paws on hot days so give them booties or keep to the grass (or inside!).

Ideally keep your dog indoors on hot days and when they do have to be outdoors give them shade and plenty of water. Keep the walks short on a hot day as well. And always be on the look out for signs of heatstroke. Signs include lethargy, excessive panting, red tongue with pale gums, drooling, vomiting and weakness among others. If you suspect your dog has heatstroke cool them with cool water (not ice!) and get them to a veterinary clinic immediately.

Dr. Nathaniel LaHue DVM, MPVM

Author: Dr. Nathaniel LaHue DVM, MPVM

Originally from California, he received his Bachelors from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo in 2009 and his DVM from Cornell University in 2013. He subsequently completed an internship at Washington State University and received a Master’s in Preventive Veterinary Medicine from UC Davis. In addition to living all around the US, he worked for a year in Botswana doing wildlife and human health research along with a little wildlife rehabilitation.