From beautiful trails to pristine beaches, Southern Ontario boasts many ways to enjoy the summer sun with the whole family. We know, though, that the hot weather carries additional risks for our furry family members, who can’t cool themselves as efficiently as we can.

So just how hot is too hot for our dogs to join the fun? There’s no simple answer, but the following considerations can help when determining whether your furry family member is at risk:

While coat length plays a factor in your dog’s ability to withstand the heat, those with “smooshed-in faces” such as bulldogs, pugs, and Boston terriers are at the greatest risk. Since dogs cool themselves by panting, the inefficient airways of these breeds also make for inefficient cooling. This makes them particularly prone to heat stroke, which can have permanent and fatal consequences.

Pets who carry even one or two extra pounds will generate more heat from mild exercise. A weight loss plan can help your furry family member live life to its fullest in many ways, but in the meantime, extra attention must be paid to ensure these friends are kept cool when enjoying the hot weather!

Exercise and Activity
Many dogs will happily play on a sunny day until they collapse from heat stroke, even in their own backyard. As temperatures climb over 20°C, an active pup should always be supervised and should have scheduled rest every 15 minutes. On these days, and especially in humidity, ensure your dog always has access to cool water and shade with proper air flow. Additionally, hot pavement or sand can burn the pads of your dog’s feet. If it’s too hot for your bare feet, it’s too hot for your pup, too.

Car Rides
There’s nothing like the pure joy of a dog who gets to go for a car ride! However, if your activity requires time in the car, make sure you plan your trip with no extra stops. There is no safe temperature to leave a dog in a vehicle! Even on mild days with the windows down, the car acts as a greenhouse and can reach dangerous temperatures within minutes, even if it doesn’t feel too hot to a human.

By the time signs of heat stroke set in, the damage is often irreversible. By understanding and minimizing weather-related risks to our furry family members, we can all safely enjoy the fun that our gorgeous Ontario summers have to offer!

Dr. I. Wonder is here to answer your questions regarding your furry family members. If you have a question, email it to us at  Our team at Neighbourhood Pet Clinic will tap into their collective experience to answer your various questions.