Safe & Fun Summer Exercises with Your Dog
No matter what time of year it is, exercising your dog is incredibly important. Even when temperatures warm up, we still have to find safe ways to get our dogs the workout they need. They need to continue getting walks and playtime to stay healthy and happy. However, when temps are high we have to be careful and take precautions to keep our furry friends safe. Here are some ways to stay safe in the summer while still staying active with your pup.
Always Stay Alert
The number one tip to keeping your dog safe in the summer is to always keep a watchful eye. When you’re alert, you’ll notice if your dog is dehydrated, hot, tired, etc. If you notice your dog acting strange, you can quickly step in and get your dog water or rest. You should also be alert when driving in the summer. Never leave your dog in a parked car, even with the windows down or just for a minute. Temperatures inside the car can rise over 10 degrees in just minutes, and can cause your dog to suffer heatstroke. If you have to drop your dog off at home or bring them into the store with you, do it.
Know If Your Dog is High Risk
Another key to keeping your dog safe is to know when to just keep them inside. Dogs that are brachycephalic, such as pugs and bulldogs, have trouble breathing and cooling themselves down. Because of this, they are at a higher risk when they’re outside in high temps. Other dogs that are high risk like older dogs, puppies, and overweight dogs should also try to stay inside in the AC as much as possible. These dogs are at risk of heatstroke and just have a harder time recovering from such hot temps. While it is important to make sure all dogs are staying inside when they are uncomfortable hot and humid temps, these types of dogs need to stay inside even more.
Educate Yourself on Dehydration
Dehydration and heat stroke are both illnesses where it is important to catch it early. You want to become educated on the signs and symptoms of both so that you can easily recognize them.
Some of the signs of dehydration are:
- Lack of skin elasticity
- Sunken eyes
- Dry or sticky gums
- Changes in urination
- Heavy panting
- Staring or glazed eyes
- Rapid heartbeat
- Excessive thirst
- Deep red or purple tongue or gums
Learn how to spot these so you can either take action yourself or get your dog to an emergency vet quickly.
It is also important to know when you need to make alterations to your workouts. While it is key to keep getting them a walk everyday, sometimes you may need to cut back. One way to do this is move your walks to early in the morning or later at night. While you may have to make changes to your schedule to do this, it will make the walks greatly more enjoyable for you and your dog. You also may want to limit the duration or intensity of workouts. Another option is a cooling vest to put on for hotter walks. If you normally go on long runs, you may want to cut back when it is so hot. You also alter these workouts by choosing to go to a pool, lake, or filling up a kiddie pool as some exercise. It will keep your dog cool and also get them playing and working out.
Give Water and Shade
On top of shorter walks and less intense workouts, you want to make sure your pup always has cool water and shade when they’re playing. If you go outside or to a dog park, be sure you bring cold water and a water bottle or bowl so your dog is always hydrated. You also want to make sure they have a shady area, such as a tent or tree shade when playing. No matter how much water or shade you give, remember that if it’s too hot for you to sit outside, your dog probably should be inside too.
Overall, be sure you are always proactive and attentive during these hot summer months. If you follow these tips, you should have a safe and happy summer! Good luck!