Over the past few years, most parts of the country have experienced record-breaking temperatures during the summer months. When temperatures outside soar, it is important to put extra thought and consideration into how and when to walk your dog. Try using these tips to ensure that your dog stays safe:
1. Walk when it is coolest outside.
Adjust your schedule so that you can walk your dog during the early morning hours or late at night after the sun has gone down. These typically are the coolest times of the day.
2. Protect your dog’s feet and your own.
Hot pavement or asphalt can burn the pads of your dog’s feet. You can protect them by purchasing special booties that are made for dogs. You can find these booties at most pet stores. They provide vital protection for the bottoms of your dog’s feet, helping to keep them from burning on the hot pavement. Although it may take your dog a little while to get used to them, the relief and protection that they provide are definitely worth the investment.
Needless to say if you are walking yourself you need to care for your own feet and knees and the best way to do that is to ensure you have a good pair of shoes or trainers for walking. These should also have good quality insoles such as these here as these will help support and prevent issues.
3. Keep your dog hydrated.
Dehydration is a real risk on hot summer days. Signs that your dog may be dehydrated include excessive panting, bloodshot eyes, and lethargy. You can also do a quick test for dehydration by gently pinching the skin on the scruff of your dog’s neck. If it falls slowly back into place rather than snapping back into place like usual, it is typically a sign of dehydration.
Remember, adequate hydration is essential. The specific amount of water that your dog needs depends on a lot of different factors such as their size, their weight, and the color of their coat. Always bring water along with you when you go for a walk. They make collapsible water bowls that you can easily pack with you. If you don’t want to carry it yourself, you can even buy a backpack for your dog so that they can carry their own water along with them.
4. Be creative when it comes to keeping your dog cool.
Even if your home is not air-conditioned, that doesn’t mean that your dog is doomed to deal with the heat. Instead, there are a lot of ways that you can keep them cool. Try letting them splash around in a kiddie pool or run through the sprinkler. Another option is to make a homemade swamp cooler by filling a container with ice and setting a fan up behind it so that the air from the fan is cooled as it blows over the surface of the ice.
5. Cool your dog’s feet and stomach first.
The natural tendency is to apply water to a dog’s back when you are trying to cool them down. In fact, however, you should focus on their feet and stomach first. This will have the greatest cooling effect on their body, helping them to chill out more quickly.
6. Allow your dog to dig down in the soil to create a resting area.
Dogs in the wild will dig down into the soil to create a comfortable spot to lay that is cooler than the surrounding dirt. If you have a space in your yard where it is acceptable for your dog to do some digging, this can be a good way for them to keep themselves cool.
7. Show your dog how hot it is outside.
If you decide not to go for your walk at your usual time because of the heat, make sure that your dog understands why. Allow them to step outside into the heat. Most dogs will instinctively realize that it is too hot for them to go for a walk. Dogs are a lot smarter than most people give them credit for.
8. Avoid leaving your dog in your car at all costs.
The interior of a car can heat up incredibly quickly during the summer months. Dehydration or death can happen in an instant. If you are going to take your dog in the car with you, make sure that you keep your air conditioner running at all times and that they have water available to drink. Never leave your dog in your car unattended – even if it is only for a short period of time.
9. Hit your local swimming hole.
One of the best ways to help a dog cool down is by taking them swimming. If you have access to a swimming pool, this can be a good option. If not, look for a swimming hole in a local pond, lake, or river where your dog can jump in and cool down. Just make sure that the conditions are safe for them to swim.