Summer Heat and Giant Breed Dogs: How to Keep Them Cool and Safe

Summer Heat and Giant Breed Dogs: How to Keep Them Cool and Safe

Protecting Your Giant Breed Dog in Summer: Avoiding Hot Pavement and Other Heat Risks

As the hot months of summer approach, it's important to keep our giant breed dogs safe and comfortable. With their larger size, giant breed dogs can be more susceptible to heat-related issues. In this post, we'll discuss the dangers of hot pavement, hot cars, and other heat risks, and provide practical tips to manage your dog's health during the summer.



The Dangers of Hot Pavement and Asphalt

One of the most significant hazards for dogs in the summer is hot pavement. Walking your dog on hot pavement or asphalt can cause severe burns to their paws. A dog's paws can burn in as little as 60 seconds on pavement that is 125°F.

To put it into perspective, some experts say that it's generally safe to take a dog for a walk in temperatures up to 68°F. However, anything over 77°F is considered very risky. According to Fulton Homes Cause For Paws, when it's 104 degrees outside, sidewalk temperatures hit 149 degrees while asphalt can rise to a scorching 162 degrees. A burned paw is one of the worst and most common injuries dogs sustain in the summer. Paws can burn on a 140-degree surface in just one minute.



Practical Tips to Protect Your Dog's Paws:

  1. Test the Pavement: Before heading out, test the pavement by placing the back of your hand on the surface for seven seconds. If it's too hot for your hand, it's too hot for your dog's paws.
  2. Walk During Cooler Hours: Schedule walks during the early morning or late evening when temperatures are lower and the pavement is cooler.
  3. Use Protective Gear: Consider using dog booties to protect your dog's paws from hot surfaces.
  4. Stay on Grass: Walk your dog on grass or dirt paths instead of pavement. These surfaces are much cooler and more comfortable for your dog.

The Risks of Hot Cars

Leaving your dog in a hot car, even for a few minutes, can be extremely dangerous. The temperature inside a car can rise rapidly, leading to heatstroke or even death. On a 75°F day, the temperature inside a parked car can reach 100°F in just 10 minutes, and on a 90°F day, it can soar to 119°F in the same amount of time.

Practical Tips to Avoid Hot Car Dangers:

  1. Never Leave Your Dog in the Car: Even with the windows cracked, a parked car can become dangerously hot very quickly.
  2. Plan Ahead: If you need to run errands, leave your dog at home where they are safe and cool.
  3. Travel Safely: If you must travel with your dog, make sure the air conditioning is on and that they have access to water.


Keeping Your Giant Breed Dog Cool

Giant breed dogs, like Great Danes, Saint Bernards, and Newfoundlands, can struggle more with heat due to their size. It's essential to take extra precautions to keep them cool during the hot summer months.

Tips to Keep Your Giant Breed Dog Cool:

  1. Provide Plenty of Water: Make sure your dog always has access to fresh, cool water. Dehydration can exacerbate heat-related issues.
  2. Create a Cool Resting Spot: Set up a shady area or a cool spot indoors where your dog can rest comfortably. Consider using cooling mats or fans to help lower their body temperature.
  3. Limit Physical Activity: Avoid strenuous exercise during the hottest parts of the day. Instead, opt for light play and walks during cooler hours.
  4. Grooming: Regular grooming helps remove excess fur, which can trap heat. Ensure your dog's coat is clean and free of mats to promote better air circulation.
  5. Watch for Signs of Overheating: Be vigilant for symptoms of heatstroke, such as excessive panting, drooling, lethargy, and vomiting. If you suspect your dog is overheating, move them to a cooler area immediately and contact your vet.





Alternative Ways to Exercise and Stimulate Your Dog

While physical exercise is important, it can be challenging to keep your dog active during the hot summer months. Here are some alternatives to help keep your giant breed dog both physically and mentally stimulated:

Indoor Activities:

  1. Interactive Toys: Puzzle toys, treat-dispensing toys, and interactive games can keep your dog mentally engaged indoors.
  2. Training Sessions: Use the summer months to teach your dog new tricks or reinforce existing commands. Training sessions provide mental stimulation and strengthen your bond.
  3. Indoor Fetch: Play a gentle game of fetch in a spacious room or hallway. This allows your dog to burn off energy without being exposed to the heat.

Water Activities:

  1. Swimming: If your dog enjoys water, swimming is an excellent low-impact exercise that keeps them cool while providing a great workout.
  2. Sprinkler Fun: Set up a sprinkler in your backyard and let your dog run through it. This can be a fun way to keep them cool and active.
  3. Frozen Treats: Offer your dog frozen treats like ice cubes or frozen fruit. Not only do they help keep your dog hydrated, but they also provide a cooling and enjoyable experience.

Mental Stimulation:

  1. Scent Work: Hide treats around your home or yard and let your dog use their nose to find them. This engaging activity taps into their natural instincts and provides mental stimulation.
  2. New Environments: Take your dog to new, shaded environments for a change of scenery. Exploring new places can be mentally enriching and exciting for your dog.




As the summer heat intensifies, it's crucial to be mindful of the specific needs of your giant breed dog. By understanding the risks of hot pavement, hot cars, and other heat-related dangers, you can take proactive steps to protect your dog's paws and overall health. Incorporate these practical tips and alternatives to keep your giant breed dog cool, safe, and mentally stimulated during the hot months.

At The Big Damn Dog Co., we're dedicated to providing the best care for your giant breed companions. Remember, a happy and healthy dog is one that is well-protected from the summer heat. Stay cool, stay safe, and enjoy a wonderful summer with your gentle giant!

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