Our dogs LOVE to go on walks. They go nuts when we simply utter the word, running to their leashes and collars with the enthusiasm of a child. It’s hard not to share their excitement!
For many dog moms and dads, walks are the most quality time we spend with our pups each day and they are in fact a great way to strengthen your bond with your dog. Walks of course, are also a great way to get exercise and keep your dog fit and trim.
During the winter months, walking your dog can be made difficult by the cold temperatures, the snow, and the salt that can do some major damage to your dog’s paws.
When spring finally rolls around, the rain and warmer temperatures can be a great reprieve for your dog walking routine. Eventually, the high heat of summer hits and walks can get tricky again.
To help make summer walks as fun and safe as possible for your dog, check out my summer dog walking tips and things to remember when walking your dog this summer:
1. Avoid walking during peak heat.
If you really want to keep your regular walks with your dog, avoid walking him during peak heat times. Instead, walk your dog during the early morning hours (before the sun is up and the temperatures begin to climb) or during the evening and night hours when the sun goes down and it begins to cool. The cooler temperatures will make the walks easier and more enjoyable for both you and your dog.
2. Limit your walks.
When it’s hot out, it’s best to limit or reduce the time you spend walking your dog. Additionally, if you live in an area where humidity is a real issue during the summer, be cognizant of this. High humidity makes breathing harder for both humans and dogs. If it’s too humid to walk, further reduce your times or don’t walk at all. Your pup might miss out on the exercise, but it will be better for their health and their safety in the long run.
3. Check the pavement temperature
The hot summer pavement can burn you and your dog leading to blisters and bleeding, so before taking your pup out be sure to check the temperature of the pavement. Hold the back of your hand against the pavement and wait about 30 seconds. If your hand begins to burn the pavement is too hot for your dog too.
If you’re able to walk your dog through the grass or on dirt paths, it’s better to avoid the pavement altogether.
4. Bring along plenty of water and a collapsible dish.
Summer walks are hard on both you and your dog. To avoid dehydration and to help keep your dog cool, bring along plenty of water for both you and your pup to drink. Nowadays, they make water bottles with a dish attachment for your dog to drink out of, but it might also be a good idea to bring along a collapsible dish.
5. Make sure your dog is protected.
Make sure your dog is protected on those summer walks. Your dog is more likely to encounter ticks in the warm summer months so be sure your flea and tick collar is up to date or that your dog is protected with a topical or chewable product. In addition, make sure your dog’s skin is protected with dog safe sun screen.
Additionally, you may want to try a product such as a cooling bandanna to help keep your dog cool.
6. Cool your dog off if you notice signs of dehydration or heat stroke.
Signs of dehydration in dogs include: panting, sunken eyes, dry nose and gums, loss of skin elasticity, loss of appetite, drooling, weakness, vomiting, or lethargy. You can test for dehydration by pinching your dog’s skin between your thumb and forefinger. If the skin springs back your dog is well hydrated. However, the skin of dehydrated dogs will take much longer to spring back. In addition, if you dog’s gums are dry, you should be aware that your dog is dehydrated.
Signs of heat stroke in dogs include panting, drooling, pale gums, unusual breathing, difficult breathing, weakness, vomiting, and disorientation.
If you notice any of these symptoms in your dog, be sure to hydrate your pup and move them to a cool shady area. You can also help your dog beat the heat with a cool bath or by showering them down with a hose.