Updated: Feb 1
There are certain things you just can't avoid. Like walking your dog thats been pent up all day and is currently on a mission to destroy everything in your home. But what are we to do on those days when it's so hot you've got sweat dripping off of the end of your nose?!? We'll we with having just gone through a couple of days like that here in Waterloo we thought we would share a couple of tips to help keep yourself and your pooch safe and comfortable on those hot weather walking days.
The first, and the most obvious; Time your walks according to the cooler parts of the day.
Yes this might mean waking up an hour earlier then normal, but just think. Maybe you could take your pup with you to the coffee shop on your early morning walk, or even treat yourself to an extra special Starbucks as a reward for being a fantastic dog owner. Either way, if you're going to be away from the house all day plan to walk your dog as early as possible in the morning to avoid as much of the heat and humidity the day will bring. This also works for the night time. In addition to bringing all the hot weather, Summer also brings us longer days. This means you can wait till almost 9 o'clock at night to walk your dog, after the heat of the day has died down significantly.
Or hit up one of your local trails instead of a neighbourhood stroll! You're dog will be able to run around in a shaded woods or through the shallow river water and ponds, will be exponentially more mentally and physically tired, and you don't have to walk as long as they will be getting more stimulation and excise then your normal romp around the block!
If you absolutely have to take your dog out for a stroll during the heat of the day plan shorter and more frequent walks. Walking in the hot weather will tire your dog out quicker then normal, so opt for two 20-30 minuet brief walks instead of your normal hour block buster. Try to stick to the shaded side of the road, and avoid pavement whenever possible. Remember, if its hot to the touch for you, its hot to the touch for your dogs paws. Bring lots of water, but don't let your dog gulp too much at once. Short, frequent water breaks are better for their digestion and to ward of heat related illness. You can also use some of your water to pour on your dogs head and back to help keep them cool and keep their fur from getting to warm in the sun.
Turn your walk into a short back yard game of fetch or indoor play activity like hide and seek, find the toy, or blanket breakfast (wrapping your dogs kibble up into a series of knots and rolls in a towel so that they have to unwrap the towel to get to their breakfast). There are tons of brain games you can play with your pup that will tire them out just as much as a walk! You can even invest (they are like 30 bucks at Canadian Tire) in a doggy swimming pool! These are great for tossing heavy toys and objects in that your dog will try to bob for aples or splash around in trying to retrieve!
One of the most important tips is to always be mindful of your dogs own abilities. Just because it doesn't feel super hot to you, doesn't mean your dog isn't sweltering. Different dogs have different capacities when it comes to warmer weather, depending on their breed, coat type, hair colour, age, weight, etc. This is especially true of brachycephalic dogs, or short-nosed breeds, like pugs, english bulldogs, shitzu's, etc. Always works according to your dogs condition at the moment, and take into consideration the time it will get home. A 40 minute walk straight out from your house means a 40 minute walk back, way too much for a dog thats starting to experience heat related illness symptoms.