Tips for Summer Dog Walking
During the hot summer months, your dog can suffer from all sorts of season-specific problems. To make sure you keep your dog healthy this summer, it helps to have some advice. Here are some tips to help make sure your canine friend stays safe and healthy during the hot summer months.
1. When to Walk?
Dogs love to walk and run, and you may find it hard to resist when your dog wants to go out and play. However, sources say that you should not go for long walks to let your dog engage in strenuous activity in the daytime heat. Instead, try to confine activity to early morning or evening. If you really don’t have a choice but to take your dog out in the midday heat, bring cool water along and make sure your dog has access to shade.
Summer heat poses some risks. Here are some tips for taking your dog walking in hot weather.
Every dog is different. Experts suggest customizing your walk to suit your dog’s physical type and endurance level. If your dog is slightly overweight and you’re starting an exercise program, then three or four short, 10-minute walks might work better than one long one. For a more energetic, younger or thinner dog, a longer walk might work fine, but a brief rest and drink every 10 minutes helps keep your dog cool and hydrated.
Small dogs have to work harder to cover the same distance that might be a mere hop and a skip for a larger dog. Remember your dog’s size as you customize your walk. And dogs with snub-noses are more prone to respiratory distress in hot weather, sources say. It’s a little harder for them to cool themselves effectively, so walking in the morning or evening may be better for these types of dogs.
In the summer, you aren’t as likely to run into antifreeze in water on the street. Nonetheless, puddles should not be water sources for your dog during your walk, sources warn. They can harbor parasites and other road chemicals such as motor oil.
What to Bring
For a safe walk this summer, here is a checklist of things you might want to bring along to make your dog’s walk successful, healthy, and safe.
-Cool water should be taken along (for you, too!). Consider a backpack with an ice pack (a slim gel pack from your freezer will do fine and won’t add too much weight). Put bottles of water for both of you in the pack.
-A collapsible water bowl can be slipped into your backpack too.
-Treats are good to bring along for reward and to sustain your dog.
-Tweezers can be handy for removing ticks.
Go for Grass
Whenever possible, try to get your dog to grass or vegetation during the walk. Hot concrete can burn his paws. If you can, a walk in the woods or park with shade is a good choice.
Know the Signs
Watch your dog for signs of discomfort and agitation. Excessive panting is also a sign that your dog is getting overheated. If you see signs of heat exhaustion, get your dog to an air conditioned car or building as soon as possible, and call your vet.
2. Taking Your Dog Along
Summer is the season for outdoor events – cookouts, fairs, festivals, and so forth. Many dog owners consider their dog to be a part of the family, and therefore they like their dogs to go everywhere with them. Dogs may really love this, but consider your dog’s safety before taking him along on your outing. Here are some things to consider:
-Will there be access to shade?
-If your dog gets overheated, do you have access to an air-conditioned room or vehicle?
-Check to see what the high temperature is predicted for that day, and whether or not it’s supposed to be sunny or cloudy.
-Does your dog like crowds, or does she find them exhausting?
-Will there be loud noises like fireworks or loud rides/machines? Do these stress your dog?
3. Water Fun
As for fun in the water, many dogs love to swim, but many don’t. To keep your pet healthy and safe this summer, help him or her navigate water in a safe environment. A life jacket for your dog is a good idea on a boating trip. Be aware of parasites and other potentially dangerous life forms in the water (such as stinging jelly fish).
4. Fleas, Ticks, and Parasites
These days, most vets insist that you give your dog heartworm preventative year-round. So your monthly heartworm pill regimen won’t change during summer. However, other parasites and pests can afflict your dog. Flea and tick preventative should be applied as often as the manufacturer or your vet recommends, and use a flea comb to check your dog for ticks after an outing.