Keeping Your Dog Cool – Summer Safety
Looks like summer heat is starting already and there are some precautions you’ll want to take when it comes to keeping your dog cool. Heatstroke is actually pretty easy for a dog to get, and other heat related injuries, like burnt pads, are no fun at all. Some breeds are especially susceptible to having problems with heat and so more caution should be taken with them as well.
Heatstroke isn’t something that should be taken lightly, learn to recognize the symptoms and what to do in an emergency!
Let’s keep the warm weather fun and safe for our pets!
Keeping Your Dog Cool - Best times to walk
By far the easiest way to of keeping your dog cool in the summer is to avoid it altogether! The coolest time of the day is before the sun comes up (yes that early!) so that makes this the best time to get any hard exercise with your dog out of the way. Strenuous exercise should absolutely be avoided when it is hot, especially if it is also humid. So if you run, bike, or take your dog to the dog park to burn off energy, these activities are best done when it’s cool.
The added benefit to this is that when it’s still cool the ground will not be able to burn your pups paws.
Pro tip: Check the pavement heat before walking your dog on it!
If you can’t comfortably keep your palm on the pavement indefinitely, it’s too hot and will make your dog uncomfortable. Dog boots can help protect your dog’s paws, but have their own drawbacks. There is also a lot of variance in quality and fit, so finding a set that works for your dog can be tricky.
Training is always going to be at the top of this list, simply because it is so effective at tiring dogs out, but also because you’re able to teach your dog things you want and make them a better member of your family. Building a routine to practice your loose leash walking skills, recalls, position changes, etc is all valuable work that will help get your dog thinking.
Training doesn’t have to be complex, doesn’t have to happen in a long drawn out session, and it can be silly and fun. It is what you make it and the goal should be fun!
Fun in the Water
Investing in a wading pool to teach your dog to use is also a great activity if you don’t have easy access to water. For those who have watering holes to take their dogs to, teach your dog to swim or encourage them to get in the water! Swimming is a great exercise that works the whole body, and every dog deserves to not be afraid of water. Whether you use a wading pool to let your dog splash around in, or a natural body of water, it makes little difference where keeping your dog cool is concerned. Water is water!
In some areas there are risks when it comes to natural bodies of water. Here in the PNW we have Blue Green Algae, which is toxic to humans and pets. Know your local area and be safe in the water.
Games Around the Home
Keeping your dog cool can be made much easier if you actually have a place to cool off handy. Many fun games can be played in and around the house, with easy access to a cool resting area if needed. Hiding from your dog and playing hide and seek is a game that is a winner for all dogs, as is seeking out hidden food, treats, or toys.
Letting your dog chase you is also a great game and actually reinforces several important foundation training skills that we want our dogs to have. Plus you have an easy barometer of when it’s time to stop, if you’re hot so are they!
Fetch, tug, and using a flirt pole are all fun games to play at home, and with the heat are inherently much safer to do at home around the house. Breaking up the game to more bite sized pieces in the heat is key for keeping your dog cool. Try to play outside for a few minutes at a time and let your dog set the pace. If they stop or want to stop, bring them back in! You can always try later, and wait for them to be cooled off.