Running With Dogs


i’ve had several people ask me recently my thoughts on running with dogs.  there was a time when i thought it really depended on the dog and figured most people just used their common sense and did only what they knew their dog could handle.  well, there’s more to it than common sense because dogs are pleasers and they will go until they suffer a heat stroke.  i sent a similar email to this last year and that very night, at about 7:30, Keith and i were driving home and saw a dog that had fallen out in the street.  we stopped to help his owner and the dog- they hadn’t even been running 8 minutes by this time.  before we could even get them to the emergency clinic, she had suffered 3 seizures.  it took lots of fluids, a ton of tests, and a boat load of money for this poor kid to get his dog (an 8 month old Weimaraner) healthy again.

so, with all of that being said, i am extremely leery of anyone running with a dog in the Memphis heat and humidity.
i consulted my vet and she cautioned against running with your dog until the temperatures and/or heat index drop below 90 degrees, especially during the daylight hours of 6 am and 8 pm.  she said if you cannot stand barefoot on the asphalt for more than 15 minutes without burning your feet, it is too hot for the pads on your dogs feet and it can literally burn the pads off.  she also said that most dogs will not show signs of heat illness until it is too late.  she warned to watch for excessive panting, white “foam” around their mouth when panting, and bellies which are hot to the touch.  apparently dogs aren’t as affected by humidity but are more affected by heat since they sweat from their feet (and by panting) and the hot pavement makes it harder to do this.

also, brachycephalic dogs (short snout) should not be in the heat at all as panting does not work as a cooling mechanism for them.  instead, it works as an internal heater.  dogs with thick coats and darker colored hair are also more susceptible to fall victim to heat illness or stroke in less time than you would imagine.

this chart shows you how how the asphalt can get (don’t forget, a dogs pads are not the same as shoes!):

hot asphalt awareness

and this chart shows how, as the temps increase, the humidity causes the heat index to rise even quicker:

NOAA heat index chart


stay safe and keep your pups safe!!

2 thoughts on “Running With Dogs

  1. After I initially commented I seem to have clicked on the -Notify me when new comments are added- checkbox and now each time a comment is added
    I get 4 emails with the exact same comment. There has to be a means you are able to remove me from that service?

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