It’s hard to believe that it’s already almost summertime. The mercury is rising, thus making the time we spend outside short to avoid sunburn and heat exhaustion. So, how are you supposed to accomplish walking your dog or doing training outside during the summer?
Here are some quick tips for summer walks and training:
- Keep a towel that’s been soaked in water and then frozen in a cooler to take with you. You can use this to lay down to allow your dog to lay on top or stand on with his paws to cool off throughout the walk/training session.
- Carry a water bottle specifically for your dog and a collapsible water bowl and stop for frequent water breaks.
- Speaking of frequent breaks, if there is shade available, utilize that as a place to stop to rest and to do your training.
- Avoid walking on pavement or concrete starting midday until the sun starts to set. You can tell how the pavement is by placing your hand (palm down) onto the pavement–that’s how it feels to your dog’s paw pads.
- Make your training sessions short–10-15 minutes maximum. You can do multiple sessions throughout the day if you need to work on more.
When going for walks, try to find a local area that offers plenty of shade like a local park. Your best bet is to find a park with trails and creeks to allow your dog to take breaks in the water (but still bring his own water and water bowl). Plus, doing this will allow for a fresh scene and fresh scents, which can be fun!
During summer playtime and training, it’s important to know the signs for heat stroke in your dog and what to do:
- Raised temperature (101.5° is normal)
- Rapid breathing and panting
- Excess salivation and thickened saliva
- Fatigue or depression
- Muscle tremors
If you spot these signs, get your dog inside your home or car with the air conditioning and contact your vet immediately.
Wrap your dog in cold wet towels (not frozen), especially the underarm/belly/groin area. A fan may be used on the dog during the cooling process.
Check your dog’s temperature every five minutes and end the cooling treatment when the temperature is down to 103°. Avoid cooling too rapidly to avoid shock. Allow access to cool water, but don’t force your dog to drink. Your vet may push IV fluids if dehydration is a concern.
Just because it’s hot doesn’t mean you can’t still enjoy the outdoors with your dog! Take many breaks, drink plenty of water and keep an eye on conditions for a safe and fun summer break!