Summer’s soaring temperatures can put a damper on being able to exercise our dogs outdoors. How do we keep our pups safe and know if it’s better to stay inside?
- Try to exercise the dog early in the morning or late in the evening, when temperatures lower.
- Check the temperature of the sidewalk. Put your hand on the sidewalk for 10 seconds– are you uncomfortable? Hot pavement (or sand) can burn a dog’s paw pads.
- Hydrate before you go. You and the dog! If you plan to be outside more than 30 minutes, bring a water bottle and a bowl along.
- Watch the dog’s demeanor. Turn back when you see them starting to tire. If you have a dog that can chase a ball til they drop, initiate a “Pitch Count”. After 30 reps, the game is called.
- Walk in the grass instead of the sidewalk. Perhaps a quick car ride to the park where your walk can be under the shade of trees.
- Know your dog — elderly, very young, and smoosh-faced dogs should be exercised with caution during the hot summer days!
Lastly, educate yourself on signs of heat stroke in dogs: Excessive panting, lots of drooling, increased heart rate, and increased body temperature (over 103).
If you see these signs, get the dog inside and attempt to cool them by offering ice water, fans, air conditioning, and laying on a cool surface such as tile. A cool washcloth can also be applied to their paw pads to help gradually lower their internal body temperature. Be cautious to not lower their temperature too fast. Call your vet with any concerns!