Don’t let the heat of the summer keep you and your dog away from outdoor activities. With some easy adjustments, you can keep your canine companion well exercised and safe in the heat!
- Start your activity earlier in the day, before the sun gets too high, or plan an evening outing.
- Water is your friend – get your dog wet before starting the activity to provide some evaporative cooling. Use a gentle spray and massage the water into the coat to wet their fur down as much a possible. On the walk, be sure to carry a collapsible water dish and a full water bottle.
- Plan a route that provides access to shade or water. Walking across a damp lawn to wet down paws can also provide relief. Avoid extended stretches on asphalt that can heat up in the sun.
- Take a break. Find a shady or breezy spot and stop for five to ten minutes.
- Cool down after exercise in a shady spot and provide plenty of drinking water. You can also assist your dog’s cooling with a fan or by wetting down a concrete slab.
- A special note: Don’t spray your dog with cold water from a garden hose after exercise. The cold water will constrict the external blood vessels and drive the heat to the dog’s internal organs, potentially damaging them. Be sure to apply only room-temperature water directly to the dog.
Be sure to monitor your dog during the activity and use good judgment — don’t take risks with your dog’s health. Consult your vet immediately if you think your dog has overheated or is suffering from hyperthermia (heat exhaustion). Remember – a good citizen always keeps their cool.