How hot is TOO hot for dogs? Heat stroke in dogs is a real risk, just as it is with people–and it’s up to you, whether you’re at home or out on a day trip with your dog–to make sure your dog stays safe!
With temperatures hovering around 100 degrees here every day into the foreseeable future, we have to schedule our dog fun in the early morning (evening remain too hot) or around the water. The temperatures are too hot for our dogs’ paws and for them to cool themselves efficiently, putting them at risk for heat-related illness.
We’ve got a roundup of tips that you need for avoiding and recognizing heat stroke in your dog–and ways to help your dog beat the heat this summer!
Heat Stroke in Dogs
Texas Veterinary Medical Association (TVMA) reminding pet owners that intervening at the first sign of their pet overheating is the key to preventing a serious emergency.
Asphalt and concrete become griddles during hot weather and, even if they’re cool enough for your dog to walk on safely (and many times they’re not), the heat coming up off those surfaces can be very taxing on your dog, especially smaller dogs whose bodies are closer to the hot surface.
Heatstroke occurs when a pet’s normal body mechanisms cannot keep the body’s temperature within a safe range.
Considered a veterinary emergency, heatstroke can result in gastrointestinal upset, dysfunction of internal organs, internal bleeding, infection or even death in severe cases.
It’s up to pet owners to exercise caution to avoid heatstroke and seek veterinary care when their pet shows signs of overheating.
Pets are unable to sweat, which means they don’t have the efficient cooling system the human body does.
This also means that the effects of heat are felt much more strongly and much more quickly in pets than in humans, so it’s up to pet owners to take steps to keep their pets’ bodies in a safe temperature range.
How to Prevent Heat Stroke in Dogs
The TVMA gives these easy steps you can take to prevent heatstroke during periods of warm weather include:
- Never leave your pet in your car, even for a short period of time. Heatstroke can occur when a pet is left in a car even on a 70-degree day.
- Make sure your pet has access to shade and an ample amount of water while outside.
- Create a cooling source for your pet, like a kiddie pool filled with cool (not ice) water, or allow your pet to lie on bottles or sealed bags filled with water that are wrapped in a towel.
- Avoid exercising or walking your pet at peak temperature hours or on especially hot or humid days.
A good rule of thumb is that pets are at risk for heatstroke once the outside temperature hits at least 80 degrees and a humidity of at least 90 percent.
Signs of Heat Stroke in Dogs
According to the Animal First Aid Chapter of Pet Sitters International (PSI) Certification Program, which was created in conjunction with Thom Somes, the Pet Safety Guy™, pets can easily suffer from heatstroke.
“High body temperatures and stress can cause a pet to go into heatstroke,” Ellen Price, PSI academic manager, said. “Heatstroke is most often caused when pets are left in a confined space with little or no ventilation during periods of warm temperatures and high humidity.”
The signs of heatstroke can include:
- Uncontrollable panting
- Foaming at the mouth
- Loss of consciousness
- Tongue and gums that turn from bright red to blue to gray
- Capillary refill time of more than two seconds
Which Dogs Are Prone to Heatstroke?
Dr. Meg Connelly, a South Shore veterinarian at Willard Veterinary Clinic in Quincy, MA, warns pet owners to be vigilant in helping pets avoid heatstroke.
At her animal clinic, she has seen an increase in cases of pet heatstroke and notes that overweight and elderly pets, pets with cardiac or respiratory problems, and dogs with short noses like bulldogs, boxers and pugs are particularly heat sensitive.
Dr. Connelly said that heatstroke is entirely preventable, but that pet owners often forget that their pets deal with heat differently than humans do.
“Pets wear fur coats all the time, and they can’t really sweat, except a little between their footpads. So even at temperatures in the 70s, pets can feel uncomfortable. Just imagine how you would feel in our recent sweltering 90 degree heat and humidity with a fur coat you couldn’t take off. It’s very dangerous, but it’s also preventable. If you notice your pet is panting loudly and heavily like they can’t get enough air, get them cool fast.”
Dr. Connelly urges families to keep their pets in cool, shady, well-ventilated areas out of the sun on hot days and to make sure they always have enough fresh, cool water to drink.
Pets should go for walks early in the morning when it is still cool outside. Longer-haired pets can also be given a shorter fur trim for the summer to help ventilate their skin.
What to Do if You Suspect Your Dog Has Heat Stroke
According to BluePearl Veterinary Partners notes, “Lethargy, vomiting, diarrhea and dark red gums are all signs of heat related distress. If your pet is panting uncontrollably or collapses, take the animal to your veterinarian or nearest emergency veterinary hospital immediately.“
And Dr. Connelly if pet owners notice these symptoms, they should run cool (not freezing) water over them with a hose or in the tub.
Then wrap cool, wet towels around them and fan them on the way to the animal clinic. Even if owners cool their pets down, they still need pet veterinary care and possibly pet meds.
BluePearl Veterinary Partners cautions, “Don’t give sports drinks or electrolyte supplements to pets. Dogs cool off by panting and they do not sweat like people. Supplements like sports drinks can actually harm animals and make pets sick.”
The Texas Veterinary Medical Association suggests:
- Try to cool your pet’s body by wetting him with cool water and exposing it to a breeze or a nearby fan.
- Make water available but do not force your pet to drink.
- Transport your pet to the nearest veterinary facility for treatment. The effects of heatstroke are often subtle and not immediately apparent.
- Even if your pet appears to have recovered, it’s possible that they are still at risk for the damaging effects of heatstroke.
Leaving Your Dog in the Car
While walking your dog during hot weather is definitely a risk, one of the major causes of heatstroke is leaving dogs in the car — even for a few minutes.
Dr. Connelly reminds pet parents never to leave their pets alone in a parked car:
What Temperatures are Safe for Your Dog?
Recently Petplan pet insurance released this interesting infographic about safe temperatures for your dog:
As you can see, the smaller dogs can tolerate the heat a little better than the larger dogs–unless yours is a brachycephalic dog. (Petplan noted that the risk of heat-related incidents is nearly twice as high for breeds such as Boxers, Bulldogs and Pugs.)
Read more What Do I Do If My Dog Bites Someone?
Senior dogs, very young puppies, and obese dogs also have a tougher time handling high temps.
The claims the insurance company sees for heat-related illness average $2,606 for heat stroke, $398 for dehydration and $913 for hyperthermia.
6 Ways to Help Your Dog Beat the Heat
- Chill out with a tasty treat. Freeze low-sodium chicken broth in a popsicle mold or ice cube tray for dogs and cats to enjoy on a hot day.
- Hose down hot pavement, patios and porches before letting your pets outside. A little water could go a long way toward keeping paws cool and avoiding paw pad burns. Pet parents can also run cool water over their dog’s feet.
- Say yes to ice water. Adding ice to pets’ water bowls creates a game for curious canines—they’ll bob for ice cubes and stay cool and hydrated in the process!
- Cool the crate. If your pet will be crated while you’re away, try freezing two-liter water bottles and placing them on top of the crate. They’ll give off cool air and help keep the spot cool.
- Wear a cold compress. A refrigerated wet bandana will help keep Fido cool and stylish this summer—this is especially effective because of the temperature receptors around dogs’ necks.
- Make a splash. A backyard baby pool is a great way for pets to stay cool (and it’s fun too!). Some cats may even choose to toe the water.
If you’ll be enjoying some day trips with your dog during the hot summer months, don’t miss these posts:
- 12 Tips for Traveling with Your Dog in Extreme Heat
- 10 Ways to Keep Your Dog Cool In the Summer Heat
Pin it to remember tips to recognize heat stroke in dogs
— Update: 09-02-2023 — cohaitungchi.com found an additional article How Hot Is Too Hot for Dogs? from the website www.thesprucepets.com for the keyword what temp is too hot for dogs.
When summer approaches, it’s natural for people to want to spend more time outside with their family, friends, and pets. But sometimes, the heat can be too much. People may wear less clothing and more breathable fabrics to prevent becoming overheated outside, but dogs aren’t able to shed their fur in order to stay cool. It’s important for dog owners to know when it’s too hot for their dog to be outside, as well as to recognize the signs of overheating. Heatstroke is a serious concern in dogs and can lead to death if ignored. It’s best to take precautions whenever possible.
What Temperature Is Too Hot for Dogs?
Just like some people, some dogs can adjust to being exposed to higher temperatures over time but if it is over 77 degrees Fahrenheit outside, you should be thinking about whether or not your dog is affected by the heat. Pavement temperatures can be much hotter than the air if in direct sunlight with no wind and low humidity, so foot pad burns can occur even if the air doesn’t feel that hot. The pavement can be 40-60 degrees hotter than the air temperature, so standing on ground this hot can cause burns in 60 seconds.
If the ground temperature isn't your concern, anything that is higher than a dog's body temperature short-term can be problematic. Since a dog's body temperature is normally between 100 and 103 degrees, this means that temperatures over 100 degrees can quickly cause problems for your dog, even if they are just sitting outside in the sun. But if it is cooler than 100 degrees and there is high humidity, this can also be a problem, since the humidity prevents a dog from being able to efficiently cool itself through panting. High humidity and temperatures in the 80s or 90s can cause issues if your dog is outside in the sun for lengthy amounts of time, especially if it is exercising.
All in all, the more humid it is, the lower the heat has to be to negatively affect your dog. Your dog may be able to withstand hotter temperatures and higher humidity if it is just sitting outside, but if you are going on a walk or run, you'll need to closely monitor whether or not your dog is getting too hot. If it's too hot for you to comfortably stand in the sun, then it's definitely too hot for your dog.
How to Tell If Your Dog Is Too Hot
Since there is no hard and fast rule regarding how hot is too hot for your dog, you should be well versed in how to tell if your dog is overheating. Excessive panting, drooling, lethargy, vomiting, diarrhea, increased thirst, and bright red gums and tongue are the first signs that your dog is too hot. As their body temperature continues to rise, stumbling, collapse, unconsciousness, and even seizures can occur. If this happens, seek veterinary care immediately. Watching for these symptoms can help you decide whether you need to get your dog in a cooler environment or if they can stay outside. Water and shade will allow both big and small dogs to withstand higher temperatures for longer periods of time, but you should still monitor for signs of overheating and seek veterinary care if needed.
If you're not sure if your dog is has overheated, then you can always take its temperature. A digital thermometer can be obtained from a drugstore or pharmacy to see what your dog's rectal temperature is. If it is over 104 degrees, get your dog into a cooler environment and seek veterinary care immediately.
Breed Risk Factors for Overheating
Unless they are a giant breed, the size of your dog does not play a huge role in whether or not it can withstand hot temperatures, but it can still have a small effect. Typically, smaller dogs are able to tolerate higher temperatures when compared to larger dogs, but there are some exceptions. If a dog of any size is obese, very young, elderly, or is a brachycephalic breed, it will have a harder time in the heat regardless of its size. Additionally, dogs with thicker coats will have a more difficult time staying cool when compared to a dog with short or thin fur.
— Update: 09-02-2023 — cohaitungchi.com found an additional article How Hot Is Too Hot For Dogs? Keeping Pets Safe in Heat from the website www.pawlicy.com for the keyword what temp is too hot for dogs.
This post will explain how hot is too hot for dogs to withstand safely, as well as certain risk factors that can intensify health complications in our canine friends. Be sure to read through to the end to learn the best heat stroke prevention methods and essential summer safety tips for pets.
Table of Contents:
- How hot is too hot for dogs to walk?
- How hot is too hot for dogs’ paws?
- How hot is too hot for dogs to wait in a car?
- How hot is too hot for dogs to be outside?
- Risk factors for dogs in high temperatures
- How to keep dogs cool
- How to tell if a dog is overheated
- Key Takeaways
How hot is too hot for dogs to walk?
Not only can it be unpleasant to walk your dog on a scorching hot day, but it can also be unsafe — especially in high humidity levels. That’s because, unlike humans who sweat to cool off, dogs primarily cool off by panting.
Their long nose is designed for more than just a keen sense of smell — it allows them to humidify and cool the air they breathe before it hits the lungs. The Humane Society explains that this results in better oxygen transfer, as well as an evaporative cooling effect that enables them to regulate their body temperature.
However, dogs cannot cool themselves down in high humidity because the water content in the air impedes their ability to evaporate moisture from the lungs. This can lead to a potentially hazardous spike in body temperature.
Before going out for a walk, consider both the humidity and temperature; the safe temperature range will go down as humidity levels go up. On these days, try to keep your pet indoors to protect their safety.
Read more When is it too hot to walk a dog?
Keep in mind, dogs will still require exercise and potty breaks no matter where they live or how hot it is, so try to take them out for a walk early in the morning and later in the evening so they’re not subjected to peak temperature extremes.
How hot is too hot for dogs’ paws?
Even moderately warm temperatures can be harmful to dogs, considering that on a sunny, 77-degree day, the asphalt could be as hot as 127℉ (you can fry an egg at 131℉!). That ground would be too hot for dogs to walk on without burning their delicate paw pads.
Unfortunately, dogs tend to be very good at concealing their pain until their discomfort is very severe, at which point significant damage will have already occurred. Burnt paw pads are never any fun; they’re painful, require chronic bandaging, and are prone to infection. Therefore, pet parents need to be mindful of both the air temperature and surface temperature before going outside.
But how can you tell how hot the ground is? There are many variables that can affect surface temperature — including the type of material (asphalt, sand, unpaved roads, rocky hiking trails) and the sun’s position in the sky — so it can be hard to know what’s safe and what’s not.
Here’s a good rule to go by: if you can’t comfortably rest the back of your hand on the pavement for five seconds, then it’s too hot for a dog to walk on. Schedule your summertime walks around the intensity of the sun and try to take routes across dirt or grass.
How hot is too hot for dogs to wait in a car?
The single most common cause of heat stroke is a dog being confined to the inside of a car, according to the American Kennel Club. Your dog should NEVER be left in the car, even with the windows rolled down.
The American Veterinary Medical Association has demonstrated that cracking your windows open does virtually nothing to keep the temperature within your car cooler. Just a few minutes left in the car is enough time for your dog to overheat and pass away from heat stroke.
It is never worth the risk of leaving your dog in the car, even if the windows are cracked or the temperature is milder. It’s so dangerous, in fact, that many states have passed laws that make it illegal for people to leave dogs alone in the car.
How hot is too hot for dogs to be outside?
In most cases, if you’re uncomfortable outside, it’s likely too hot for your dog to be outside for an extended period of time.
Some say that most dogs will be okay for short periods of time in temperatures up to 90-degrees, so long as they have ample access to plenty of shade and water.
However, certain dogs, such as older, overweight, or brachycephalic dogs, are more affected by heat and should avoid being outside in high temperatures. We’ll dive into these heat risk factors more deeply in the sections below.
Increased risk factors for dogs in high temperatures
There are many factors that affect a dog’s ability to handle the heat, ranging from their age, breed, and weight.
Certain dog breeds are less tolerable to heat than others. According to the American Kennel Club, brachycephalic dog breeds are at a higher risk of overheating due to their “pushed in” noses that limit their ability to breathe.
Remember, dogs that pant more efficiently cool off more efficiently. The short snout in brachycephalic breeds (such as Pugs, Boston Terriers, Brussels Griffons, Bulldogs, Shih Tzus, and Boxers) inhibits this process.
If you have a brachycephalic dog, it’s vital that you monitor their outdoor activity closely because they have a very hard time cooling themselves down. “Brachy” breeds frequently pant when they breathe, so you might not know there’s a problem. Be sure to learn the signs of heat stroke in dogs so that you’ll know how to respond during a potentially life-threatening crisis.
Additionally, many dogs within these breeds have excessive weight gain and skin folds that worsen their body’s response to heat. Some also have heavier coats that can act like a warm blanket in the hot sun. These dogs can benefit from having their hair trimmed or thinned out during the summer.
The answer to “how hot is too hot for dogs with a short snout” is different than the ambient air temperature safe for canines of the standard anatomy. Generally speaking, brachy dogs aren’t the best companion for desert camping trips or all-day beach outings. If it’s too hot out, consider leaving your canine companion at home instead.
Obese and overweight dogs are more likely to overheat in high temperatures, as well as mild weather with moderate activity. Excess body fat impairs their ability to distribute heat normally, increasing the risk of heat stroke.
Unfortunately, their sub-optimal health also decreases the likelihood of recovery; one study found obesity to be a significant factor in a dog’s chances of passing away from heat stroke.
If your pet is overweight, please talk to your veterinarian about a dog diet plan to help improve their heat tolerance and overall well-being — especially if they are brachycephalic.
Older dogs have a higher risk of overheating, as well. If a senior canine has mobility issues, they may be at a disadvantage if they’re left in the sun and start to overheat. Pet parents should never leave a dog, especially an older dog, unsupervised outside when it’s very hot, as overheating can occur quickly.
How to keep dogs cool in the heat
Constant access to shade and water are the most important dog care tips to consider during the hot summer months and all year-round. Other ways you can cool down dogs include:
- Give your dog a cooling mat or cool, wet towels to lay on
- Keep your air conditioning on indoors
- Never leave your dog alone in a car
- Have a dog first aid kit on hand to treat your dog in the case of an emergency
- Consider having your dog’s coat trimmed, but avoid shaving them as this can lead to your dog getting sunburnt
- Keep your dog out of the sun and hot temperatures
How to tell if your dog is overheated
No matter how careful you are, it’s always possible for your dog to overheat. Here are the typical signs you should watch out for:
- Heavy drooling or thicker than usual saliva
- Excessive thirst
- Quicker heart rate
- Rapid or heavy panting
- Difficulty breathing
- Bright red tongue or gums
- Confusion or weakness
- In severe cases, pale or bluish tongue and gums
Severe heat stroke in dogs may cause seizures, organ failure, and possibly death. If your dog is experiencing any of these symptoms, immediately contact your veterinarian or take them to the nearest pet emergency room for medical assistance.
— Update: 09-02-2023 — cohaitungchi.com found an additional article Dangerous: How Hot Is Too Hot for Dogs? from the website a-z-animals.com for the keyword what temp is too hot for dogs.
As warmer weather approaches, many people will be spending more time outdoors with their friends, family, and pets. While it may be fun to relax in the heat, it’s important to be aware of how hot is too hot for your dog. Heatstroke can be a very serious concern not just for people, but for your dog as well and can lead to death if ignored or left untreated. It’s best to take precautions and know when it is too hot outside for your dog’s safety.
What Temperature Is Too Hot for Dogs?
As the weather warms up, dog owners will need to be more aware of the temperature outside so that their dogs can remain safe in the heat.
How hot is too hot for dogs?
Just like humans, dogs are able to adjust to higher temperatures over time, but whenever it’s over 77 degrees Fahrenheit, you’ll want to keep an eye on your dog. Pavement temperatures can be significantly hotter than the air outside if it’s in direct sunlight—especially on days with no wind and low humidity.
Your dog has sensitive foot pads that can be easily burned even if the air outside doesn’t feel that hot to you. Sometimes the pavement temperature can be anywhere from 40-60 degrees hotter than the air temperature. If your dog stands on these parts of the ground it can cause burns on its feet in as little as 60 seconds.
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Aside from pavement temperatures, it’s important to be aware that anything higher than a dog’s body temperature short-term can be an issue for your dog as well. A dog’s body temperature is normally between 100 and 103 degrees. Any time that the outdoor temperature exceeds this amount, problems can arise quickly within your dog. But it’s not just high temperatures that can be dangerous, even on days where the temperature is below 100 degrees but there are high humidity levels, it can feel too hot for your dog.
How hot is too hot for dogs when it comes to humidity? High humidity levels can prevent your dog from being able to cool off efficiently.
Dogs would normally do this through panting, but the high humidity can make it hard for your dog to cool itself this way. If temperatures are in the 80s and 90s with high humidity your dog is at risk for heatstroke and other heat-related illnesses—especially if your dog is getting exercise or playing a lot outdoors. Basically, the higher the humidity is, the lower the heat has to be in order for it to negatively impact your dog.
Your dog may be able to withstand hotter temperatures if it’s just sitting outside but if it will be going with you on a walk or run, you’ll want to closely monitor whether or not it’s doing well in the heat. A good indicator is that if it’s too hot for you to comfortably withstand the sun, then it is definitely too hot for your dog. Remember, when the weather is warmer, we can dress appropriately for the temperature. A dog cannot remove its fur to cool down. Long-haired dogs are especially susceptible to higher temperatures.
How Do I Know if My Dog Is Too Hot?
There is no exact way to pinpoint exactly how hot is too hot for your specific dog, but there are ways that you can become more well-versed in being able to tell if your dog is overheating. There are specific symptoms to look out for if you suspect your dog is overheating. They are as follows:
- Excessive panting
- Increased thirst
- Bright red gums and tongue
The above symptoms are usually some of the first signs you’ll notice if your dog is too hot. As their body temperature continues to rise, you may notice more severe symptoms including; stumbling, collapsing, unconsciousness, and even seizures. If any of these things happen to your dog, seek veterinarian care immediately.
Keeping a watchful eye out for these symptoms can make all the difference when it comes to keeping your dog safe and healthy in the heat. If you start to notice some of the less severe symptoms taking place, you should get your dog into a cooler environment as quickly as possible. Providing your dog with water and plenty of shade while it’s outside can help prevent your dog from overheating.
If you’ve looked out for these symptoms and you still aren’t sure if your dog is overheating, you can always check its temperature just to be sure. A digital thermome
ter can be purchased from a pharmacy or drug store and can be used to see what your dog’s rectal temperature is. If its temperature is over 104 degrees then you should get your dog somewhere cooler and seek veterinarian assistance immediately.
Do Some Dog Breeds Have a Higher Risk of Overheating?
Unless you have a giant breed like the Giant Schnauzer or the Giant Schnoodle, the size of your dog does not typically play a major role in whether or not it can withstand hot temperatures, but there can still be small effects. Surprisingly, smaller dogs are usually able to tolerate higher temperatures better than their larger counterparts, but there are a few exceptions.
If a dog of any size is obese, elderly, very young, or is of a brachycephalic breed, then it may have a harder time dealing with the heat. This is true regardless of its size. In addition, dogs with thicker coats may have a more difficult time staying cool during hot weather when compared to a dog that has short or thin fur.
What Can I Do to Prevent My Dog From Overheating?
There are many things you can do to help reduce the risk of your dog overheating when it’s hot out. Consider taking some of the following measures to reduce your dog’s chances of suffering from heat exhaustion or other heat-related illnesses.
Take Your Dog For Walks When it’s Cool Out
Dogs love to go on walks with their owners. During the summertime, you might live in a climate that sees very high temperatures for months on end. This doesn’t mean that you can’t take your dog out for walks. What you’ll need to do is adjust the time you would normally take your dogs for walks if your schedule will allow it—this might look like taking your dog out before the sun rises or shortly after it sets.
During either of these times, both the air temperature and the pavement temperature will be significantly cooler than they were during the heat of the day. This eliminates the risk of your dog burning its paws on the hot concrete. Pets can sometimes be quite stoic, so it can be hard to tell when they are in pain or discomfort. That’s why it’s up to us to proactively avoid putting them in situations where they would be at risk for harm or injury.
Limit Your Dog’s Outdoor Exercise
The intensity and the duration of your dog’s exercise will need to be adjusted during warm weather depending on the day’s conditions. On days when it is particularly hot, this may mean avoiding any amount of outdoor exercise. What you can do instead is have some indoor activities for your dog to participate in. You can play games with your dog indoors or provide it with interactive dog toys to keep it busy and entertained. You could also utilize this time indoors to practice training methods you might want to implement to improve your dog’s obedience. Whether your dog is exercising outdoors or indoors, it’s always important to make sure that your dog’s water bowl is filled with clean, fresh water at all times.
Keep Your Dog Cool
Any time that your dog is going to be outside in the heat during the warmer months, always be sure that they have a safe comfortable spot to lay in that’s not in direct sunlight or out in the heat. This could be something like a tree that provides a good amount of shade, an umbrella, tarp, or dog house. You can also try adding ice cubes to their water bowl to keep the water cooler for longer if it’s going to be sitting outside for an extended amount of time.
Another thing you can do to keep your dog safe is to use a cooling vest. Cooling vests are vests that your dog can wear to help it keep cool in the heat. they are ideal for going on walks, or for lounging outdoors on a hot summer day.
Keep Your Dog Hydrated
Water accounts for about 60% of your dog’s body weight. Making sure that your dog gets enough water each day is very important—especially on hot summer days. In general, a dog will need about 1/8th of a cup of water per pound of its body weight every day. When it’s hot outside, constantly monitor your dog’s water bowl so that you know when it needs to be refilled.
Your dog can also get some of its daily hydration from wet food if that is a part of its diet. Keep in mind this might slightly reduce the amount of water it needs each day, but this doesn’t mean you should provide any less water for your dog. On the other hand, if your dog’s diet consists of primarily dry dog food, it might need to have more water, as the dry food can be dehydrating.