We all love the summer months when the weather is warm, and the need for heating inside the house is reduced, but what about our canine companions? What temperature can they handle inside your house? Here is what you must know.
So, what temperature is too hot for a dog in a house? Animal welfare experts generally agree that temperatures over 80 degrees Fahrenheit are dangerous for dogs. However, the temperature is not the only factor that can contribute to the likelihood of your dog overheating. Your dog’s breed, size, weight, and age can also impact how quickly they overheat, as well as the surrounding humidity levels.
The answer is somewhat complicated.
Several factors influence how a dog will respond at different temperatures.
But nevertheless, it’s essential to remember that dogs are more sensitive to heat than humans.
They only have sweat glands in their paws and around their noses, which means that heatstroke is a very real danger in dogs – it can be fatal.
And therefore, in warmer weather, you must keep a close eye on your dog and seek veterinary advice if you are concerned.
Read on to find out how you can recognize the signs of overheating in dogs and what you can do about it.
What Indoor Temperature Is Too Hot For Dogs?
The general consensus is that you should ensure your house temperature stays under 80 degrees Fahrenheit (around 27 degrees Celsius) in order for your dog to be able to effectively regulate its body temperature. Temperatures above this will increase the risk of heat stroke, which can be fatal.
Unlike humans, dogs do not use sweating as their primary method of cooling down.
They do have some sweat glands but nowhere near as many as humans, and they are also covered in fur, which reduces the effectiveness of the sweat glands they do have even further.
Dogs have two types of sweat glands; merocrine glands and apocrine glands.
Merocrine glands are located in your dog’s paw pads, and these are the glands that dogs use to release sweat when they are warm.
Apocrine glands are also considered to be sweat glands and are located all over the body.
However, these glands do not actually release sweat!
Instead, they release pheromones that dogs use as a form of communication.
So in simple terms, dogs can only sweat through their paws.
The main method for cooling down in canines is through panting.
When your dog hangs his tongue out of his mouth and begins taking rapid, shallow breaths, he is rapidly inhaling, humidifying, and exhaling air.
This process increases the evaporation of water in your dog’s respiratory system and cools your dog from the inside out.
Depending on how hot they are, dogs can expel a large amount of moisture via this method in a very short space of time.
This is why it is vital that you allow your dog constant access to fresh, clean water, as, without it, they can very quickly become dehydrated in a warm environment.
Signs of dehydration to watch out for include lethargy, loss of appetite, and yellow-orange urine.
Aside from panting, dogs also use behavioral methods to cool down.
On a hot day, you may have witnessed your dog spreading out on his stomach, on the kitchen floor.
This is actually a behavior that is designed to reduce core body temperature.
Depending on the breed, many dogs have less hair on their abdomens than on the rest of their body, so it is the perfect area to press onto a cool surface and allow some of the heat to be expelled from the skin.
Air from a cool breeze or fan can also penetrate your dog’s coat and replace the hot air trapped in the fur with cooler air.
This is why you should ensure your dog is groomed regularly, especially if he has a particularly thick coat.
Ungroomed or matted fur can block cool air from reaching the skin and so prevent your dog from cooling down as effectively.
It is important to recognize that there are numerous other factors besides temperature that can contribute to the risk of overheating in dogs, including the breed, size, activity level, and age of your dog.
Humidity is another vital factor, as this can dramatically increase the likelihood of your dog overheating, even if the temperature is below 80 degrees Fahrenheit.
This is because the moisture in the air will prevent your dog from using the evaporation process associated with panting.
What Temperature Should I Keep My House For My Dog?
A stable indoor temperature between 72-77 degrees Fahrenheit (22-25 degrees Celsius) in the summer months will be comfortable for most dog breeds. In the winter months, you should set your thermostat between 68-72 degrees Fahrenheit (20-22 degrees Celsius) as dogs can get cold too!
Even if you are out at work all day, you must ensure your house temperature remains as stable as possible within these limits.
As mentioned above, there are a variety of factors that can affect how your dog reacts to the heat, so let’s run through them now:
There are around 400 recognized dog breeds in the world, all with their own unique characteristics that determine how they cope with heat.
Some breeds, such as Chihuahua’s and Pharoah hounds, are well adapted to warmer climates, with their short coats, large ears, and long noses to allow heat to escape the body.
However, dogs bred for colder climates like huskies and Malamutes often have long, thick coats that can be very dense or even double-layered.
These adaptations make them much more susceptible to heatstroke.
Brachycephalic breeds (short-nosed) such as Pugs and Bulldogs are also at higher risk of heatstroke in warmer weather as their unusual facial structure makes the process of panting less effective at cooling them down.
Fat is a great insulator in cold weather.
However, it can be a significant disadvantage in warmer weather as the increased insulation prevents heat loss.
Furthermore, obese dogs tend to generate more heat during exercise.
Smaller dogs have a higher surface-area-to-volume ratio, which basically means they have more skin through which they can expel heat in relation to their body mass.
So larger dogs are more likely to struggle in the heat.
This one is fairly self-explanatory.
Dogs with longer or coarser fur are more likely to overheat quickly because they are less able to expel heat through their skin.
Double-coat breeds like the Siberian husky will suffer the most as their coats are designed to keep heat in rather than get rid of it.
Young puppies and older dogs may be more susceptible to heat-related illnesses as they are less able to regulate their own body temperatures compared to healthy adult dogs.
In older dogs, certain medical conditions may also increase the likelihood of overheating.
Don’t forget that each dog is different, so when the weather is warm, you must keep a close eye on your dog for signs of overheating.
This can become a medical emergency very quickly, so if you are in any doubt, you should call your local vet for advice.
How To Keep Your Dog Cool When Inside
The most effective and essential way to keep your dog cool, especially if the surrounding environment is humid, is to ensure your dog has constant access to fresh, clean water. You can also ‘dampen’ your dog using a mister or a damp towel if you spot any signs of overheating.
However, do ensure your dog is ok with these methods as there are individuals that may shy away from a mister!
Signs of overheating can include:
- Excessive or rapid panting
- Extreme salivation, or thick saliva
- Reddening of the gums
- Labored breathing
- Disorientation or ‘wobbly’ gait
- As the condition worsens, your dog may also vomit and have diarrhea
A rather fun way of keeping your dog cool in the house is to offer him food cubes which can also double up as enrichment.
There are countless varieties you can offer, which not only taste good but also offer extra hydration in warmer temperatures.
Options you can consider include:
Dogs are carnivores by nature. However, they have been known to supplement their diet with herbs and vegetables to gain additional nutrients.
So you can blend fresh vegetables such as celery, green beans, and peas into a thick paste, separate the mixture into individual ice cube trays, and serve straight from the freezer once frozen.
Do be aware, though, that there are certain vegetables that are toxic to dogs which include avocado, mushrooms, and onions, so ensure you do your research first.
This one is perhaps the simplest to do. Just place a spoonful of your dog’s wet food into each ice cube tray to freeze, then offer.
You can even try freezing beef or chicken stock for your dog, or perhaps consider fish alternatives like salmon and tuna.
This is usually a particular favorite with dogs and can easily be frozen into ice cubes. However, do make sure you only offer these occasionally as they are high in fat.
You can even consider adding fresh fruit to the peanut butter, like blueberries, bananas, or melon (seeds removed).
Another simple one for you! Just freeze low-fat yogurt for a tasty treat on a hot day or place a dog treat into the ice cube tray and fill the rest of the space with yogurt.
Do bear in mind that dairy foods can give some dogs an upset stomach, so ensure you watch out for any signs of potential illness if you choose to offer this treat.
Air conditioning is another excellent way to keep your dog cool, although a fan is sufficient if you don’t have an air conditioning system in your home.
With fans, do make sure your dog is supervised at all times to ensure he does not injure himself by getting too close to the fan.
It is also worth bearing in mind that the loud noise of some fans can cause stress to more nervous dogs. Opening doors and windows in the house can be effective too.
Dog Cooling Pads
Dog cooling pads come in a range of different varieties, and their ease of use can make them the perfect way to cool off your dog both indoors and outdoors.
Water and gel-based varieties work by absorbing excess body heat when your dog lies on top of it.
These mats are great for more docile dogs but are wary if you have a dog that loves to chew, as the gel or water can easily leak out of the mat if it is punctured.
They do come in various materials, so ensure you pick one that is sturdy enough to withstand your dog!
You will also need to make sure you purchase one that is large enough for your dog to spread himself out on.
Nevertheless, here is a very good, affordable, and versatile option with a plethora of positive reviews on Amazon 👇
80 degrees Fahrenheit – that’s the temperature that your home should not generally exceed if you want to keep your dog comfortable and cool.
And you’re going to need to do be proactive about it; dogs just cannot regulate their body temperatures as we can.
But thankfully, you are ahead of yourself.
Otherwise, you wouldn’t have landed here today.
And now you know what you need to do, you can be much more confident in your actions.
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I am a practiced pet owner with decades of experience owning a number of different pets. I am also the main writer and chief editor here at Pet Educate; a site I created to share everything I’ve learned about pet ownership over the years and my extensive research along the way.