With summer here a common question asked by Newfie owners, including myself, is how hot is too hot for a Newfoundland dog?
Over the last 20 years of owning Newfies, I still have yet to find an exact number for that question because every single Newfoundland dog is different.
Plain and simple, Newfoundland dogs were made for cool weather.
Their body structure and their coat were made for cool climates, there’s no arguing that, but Newfies many Newfies live in warm climates and do fine.
My first Newfie Thunder did o.k. during the summer months.
We followed the general rules of watching signals that he was too, took precautions to keep him cool and didn’t exercise him in extreme heat.
He lived in a home that didn’t have air conditioning and he never experienced heat stroke or overheated.
Sherman and Leroy were a little different.
Leroy always seemed to do fine in moderate heat and humidity whereas Sherman was not a fan of the summer heat at all.
Currently, Odin seems to do fine in the heat but he definitely would rather be inside in the cool house rather than outside.
Lou definitely runs warm and based on the way he throws himself over the air vents when the AC is on, I’m confident in saying he doesn’t the heat.
He also tends to pant when the temperature gets over 50 degrees Fahrenheit.
No matter how they feel about the warm weather, all of them enjoyed the air conditioner and cooling pads and will happily choose them over a hot and humid day.
So while there’s no exact degree of heat that can be given on what’s too hot for a Newfoundland dog, there are some guidelines that you can follow.
Age of the Newfoundland
Age will play a big role in how hot is too hot for a Newfoundland
Many senior Newfoundland dogs don’t regulate heat as well as they used to so exposing them to high and humidity can put more strain on their aging bodies.
This could be due to any diseases they are dealing with, medications they are on, pain they are experiencing or overall body condition.
Puppies are still growing and have tons of energy but they should be exercised in moderation during hot weather.
Offering them a play area inside is a great idea.
Location of the Newfoundland
Newfies that are born and grow up in warm climates adapt to that climate and way of life.
I always look at it as a Newfie that lives in California will handle the heat much better than Sherman and Leroy and Sherman and Leroy will handle the cold better than a Newfie from California.
Sure they will acclimate to the climate they are in but that takes time.
In Ohio, we can go from 20 degrees to 60 degrees overnight.
That can be quite a shock to a Newfie’s system and it doesn’t allow them to build up much of a heat tolerance!
I definitely worry about the rise in temperatures rather than the fall of them.
Humidity is hard to deal with for humans and dogs.
Humidity is basically water vapor that hangs in the air and makes the temperature feel hotter than it really is.
More importantly, humidity makes it difficult for perspiration to evaporate normally.
This means that the main way that dogs rely on in order to stay cool is hugely affected by humidity.
Coat Doesn’t Matter.
It’s crazy that I said that but many people will clip their Newfie’s coat shorter in the summer because they feel it makes them more comfortable.
This may be true but caution should still be taken.
Just because their coat is trimmed shorter doesn’t mean they will handle the heat any better, they will still sweat through their paws.
The same goes for people like myself that opt to line comb.
Removing the undercoat may make them feel cooler but 90 degrees is still going to be too hot for them.
A Newfie trimmed for summer still should not be going for a hike on a 90-degree day.
For example, Lou still doesn’t have his full adult undercoat but he still doesn’t tolerate the heat well.
It takes a lot of energy for a dog to regulate their body temperature and just like age matters so does health when dealing with the heat.
Dogs that are experiencing pain from an injury such as a cruciate tear or pain from arthritis are already under stress.
Adding heat to their issues will only increase their discomfort.
Even dogs that are suffering from hot spots or allergies can become more stressed in hot weather.
Dogs that are overweight or out of shape can not tolerate heat as well and are at an increased risk for heatstroke in the summer.
My summer heat table
This is based on my dog’s health, age and constant supervision of how they are handling the heat
Around 65 degrees I will begin to pay close attention to the heat of the day.
At 70 degrees, no humidity and shade the boys are good.
We do walks in shaded areas and they will be fine.
At 75 degrees our walks will not take place and instead, we will do another activity such as dog puzzles or find it.
We might even have a grooming session inside in the comforts of the air-conditioned house.
70 degrees, sun, and humidity is a different story.
At 80 degrees the boys are able to go outside and do their business.
They can lay out in the shade, under the patio on the cement for a little if they choose but usually, they won’t unless I’m out there.
At 85 degrees and above, it’s outside for potty breaks and then back in.
We will not do car rides and definitely no walks.
If it’s humid outside, all that is adjusted accordingly.
Always keep in mind that Newfies are smart dogs and most Newfs will not want to be outside in hot weather BUT Newfies also always want to be with their family.
If you ask most Newfs to go for a ride in a car to the park for a hike on a 75-degree day, they aren’t going to turn you down.
This is where common sense comes into play.
Don’t ask your Newf to do things that will put them in danger.
I’ve been there before.
I went on a hike with Leroy a few years ago.
It was a cool fall day and the temps were in the 60s when we started, with no sun, and no humidity.
Halfway through our hike, the sun came out and it got hot fast.
I could tell that Leroy was hot and I began to panic.
We slowly but swiftly headed back to the car.
He was fine but if we would have continued on there’s a very good chance that he could have overheated.
It’s a mistake I will not make again.
Be careful out there with your Newfs this summer and always remember that dogs don’t handle the heat as well as humans do.
A nice summer hike in the woods might be ideal for you but it is not ideal for your Newfoundland.