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If you have a dog, you know all about how to take it for a walk. However, in the summer, there are some things you may want to take into careful consideration in regards to your dog’s daily walks. You will want to ensure the walk is as safe and as healthy as possible.
The summer heat can pose significant risk to your pet. Here are some tips to take into account before summer hits and your dog faces walking in hot weather.
Create Customized Walks
Each and every dog is different, which is why you should customize your walk to suit the weather, your dog’s physical shape, their breed, and their endurance level. If your dog is a little over weight, and you are just starting an exercise program, three to four short walks will help them get into shape without becoming overheated. Taking frequent 10 minute walks throughout the day is often better than a single long one, especially when it’s hot outside.
If your dog is more energetic and younger, they may benefit from a longer walk. However, you should ensure they stop for a drink every 10 minutes to ensure they stay hydrated and cool.
Smaller dogs must work two to three times as hard to cover the same amount of ground as a larger dog. When you are customizing your dog’s walk, take their size into consideration.
Dogs with a shorter nose are at higher risk for respiratory distress when it is hot outside. It is harder for them to effectively cool themselves off, so take them on a walk in the early morning and in the late evening. This will ensure their comfort.
Avoid Puddles When Walking Your Dog
During summer months, your dog is at high-risk for coming into contact with chemicals mixed with water as they walk down the street. Because of this, puddles should not be used as a water source for your dog, because they can be dangerous. These puddles can also be a breeding ground for parasites, or they could be contaminated by motor oil, or other chemicals.
What You Should Bring When Walking Your Dog
To ensure that your summer walks are safe and beneficial for your dog, consider the items on this list and carefully determine which items you should bring for your dog’s walk.
- Cool water – You should always make sure to take cool water on your walk. You should have water for you and your dog. If it is hot outside, consider taking a backpack with a re-freezable icepack to keep the water cool.
- Collapsible water bowl – A collapsible water bowl can be folded and put in your backpack. It does not take up much room, which makes it perfect for carrying around in a small backpack.
- Treats – Treats are great to bring on your walk. They allow you to provide positive reinforcement for good behaviors along your walk.
- Tweezers are extremely handy for removing ticks, sandspurs, or cactus spines your dog may come into contact with along their walk.
- Make sure to treat your dog flea and tick repellent to prevent those nasties from hitching a ride back home!
Focus on Grass
Whenever it is possible, get your dog over into some grass, or some soft vegetation throughout your walk. Hot concrete is painful on your dog’s paws and can burn them if you are not careful. Think of it this way, if you walk down the same exact sidewalk barefoot, would you be comfortable? If you cannot say you would be comfortable, chances are that your dog is not comfortable.
If possible, on hot days you should avoid the concrete. Take your dog for a walk in the park or in the woods. This will provide a cooler footpath for your dog. You could also teach your dog to use dog booties for more protection on hot pavement.
Know the Signs of Discomfort
Keep an eye on your dog at all times. Look for any signs of discomfort and agitation. If you notice any excessive panting, or other signs that your dog is becoming over heated, take action right away.
Remove them to the shade and provide them a large, cool drink of water. As soon as possible, get your dog into an air-conditioned vehicle, or building. If your dog does not show signs of improvement in ten minutes, contact your vet immediately.