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St. Louis Summer Heat: Knowing When It's Too Hot To Walk Your Dog

Ah, St. Louis summers. The days are long, the sun beats down, and the humidity hangs heavy in the air. It's crucial to consider the dangers of extreme heat for our fur-ends and walking buddies. Today, we're discussing knowing when it's too hot to walk your dog so that you and your pup remain safe and sound until fall.

Knowing When It's Too Hot To Walk Your Dog: understand the dangers

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There's no single magic number that dictates when a walk becomes unsafe. Here in St. Louis, the culprit is often a double whammy: high air temperature and stifling humidity. This combination creates a "heat index," a measure of how hot it feels outside. Even at moderate temperatures, high humidity can push the heat index into dangerous territory for dogs.

Knowing When It's Too Hot To Walk Your Dog: Know your dog's limits

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Beyond the heat index, consider your dog's individual needs and abilities. Short-haired breeds, brachycephalic dogs (like pugs and bulldogs), and overweight or senior pups are more susceptible to sunburn, overheating, and heat exhaustion. Be mindful of your dog's health conditions - a history of respiratory problems, ongoing cardiovascular disease, or a thick coat can reduce a dog's tolerance to heat and sun.

Knowing When It's Too Hot To Walk Your Dog: Take precautions

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The following are our top tips to ensure your summer walks with your dog are enjoyable and safe. As professional dog walkers, we take these precautions daily.

  • The Early Bird Gets the Walk:  Schedule walks for the coolest part of the day - early mornings or evenings when the sun is low.

  • Shady Escapes:  Stick to shaded areas whenever possible. Parks with plenty of trees or sidewalks with awnings are ideal.

  • Pavement Patrol:  Asphalt can get scorching hot.  Before heading out,  touch the pavement with the back of your hand. If it's too hot for you to hold for five seconds, it's too hot for your dog's paws. Consider walking on grass or dirt paths. Learn more about the 5-second rule here.

  • Hydration Hero:  Bring plenty of fresh, cool water on your walks. Let your dog drink frequently, even if they don't seem thirsty.  A portable water dispenser like the one by Springer Pets can be a lifesaver.

  • Shorter is Sweeter:  Adjust your walk length based on the heat. Opt for shorter, more frequent walks instead of long, strenuous ones.

  • Listen to Your Pup:  Observe your dog's body language and behavior. Panting, lethargy, weakness, or stumbling are all signs of overheating. If you notice any of these, stop the walk immediately and get your dog to a cool, shaded area.

Knowing When It's Too Hot To Walk Your Dog: avoid peak heat

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Even when taking precautions, peak heat can affect a dog very quickly. For this reason, we encourage you to avoid peak heat, usually between 10 AM and 6 PM, and focus on alternate enrichment exercises indoors.

Following are some ideas to beat the heat and have fun in the comfort of an air-conditioned room:

  • Indoor Playtime:  Engage your dog in some stimulating indoor games.  Hide-and-seek with treats or puzzle toys can provide mental and physical exercise.

  • Frozen Fun:  Fill a Kong toy with peanut butter, yogurt, or broth and freeze it.  This keeps your dog entertained and cool.

  • Splash Time:  If your dog enjoys water, consider a kiddie pool or sprinkler in a shaded backyard or patio for a refreshing splash.

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Your dog relies on you to keep them safe. By being mindful of the heat and taking precautions, you can ensure that your summer walks are happy and healthy experiences for both of you.

At House of Paws, you can count on us taking precautions like shortening walks and avoiding overly sunny routes. We take your pet's safety very seriously. Plus, nobody likes to roast outdoors!

To learn more about our dog walking, dog adventure, and dog sitting services, contact us by phone at (314) 690-5154 or email us to If you're ready to book services in one of our service areas submit a new client form to begin our registration process.

House of Paws proudly serves Eureka, Wildwood, Ballwin, Manchester, Maryland Heights, Des Peres, Fenton, Chesterfield, Valley Park, Ladue, Creve Couer, Town & Country, Kirkwood, Sunset Hills, Clayton, Webster Groves, Maplewood, The Hill, South City & Affton.


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