As the weather warms up and the days get longer, going for dog walks becomes a favorite pastime. It is a great way to get outdoors and get some exercise for humans and dogs alike! Whether you are strolling around the block, walking your dog at the park or exploring the great outdoors, follow these seven tips for walking the dog in the summer.
1. Keep Your Dog Cool
When the temperature rises, plan dog walks for the early morning or late evening to avoid the hottest part of the day. Check surfaces, such as asphalt and sand, before walking the dog. If it is too hot for your feet, it is too hot for your dog’s paws and should be avoided completely.
Pick shady routes for walking your dog. Plan to take frequent breaks and enjoy the shade and cool grass together.
2. Monitor Your Dog’s Activity
Keeping track of your dog’s activity levels is particularly important during the summer months to avoid overheating. Telltale signs that your dog is overheating are increased panting, drooling and seeking shade.
A great way to monitor your pet’s activity levels during dog walks is to use an activity monitor with a dog tracking collar. No longer just for humans, activity monitors now are available for dogs and cats.
One such monitor is the Whistle 3 GPS Tracker & Activity Monitor. This dog GPS collar is designed to monitor your dog’s activity levels and track your dog should he get lost. Using the free app with your smartphone enables you to track your pet’s activity in real time during dog walks. Then you can avoid overexerting your dog during hot weather!
3. Keep Your Dog Hydrated
Proper hydration is critical for dogs and humans alike, especially during summer weather. Although some parks are equipped with dog-accessible drinking fountains, play it safe by taking water with you and offering it to your dog regularly. Collapsible dog bowls will come in handy any time you are out on walking the dog.
4. Provide Special Care for Flat-faced and Senior Dogs
Keeping your pup cool and comfortable during dog walks is particularly important for flat-faced breeds, such as French Bulldogs, English Bulldogs, Boxers and Pugs. Their shortened muzzles can make breathing and panting more difficult, especially in hot weather, which makes it more challenging for these dogs to stay cool. Flat-faced dogs can overheat more easily during walks so keep the walks short and sweet.
Pudgy or senior dogs need similar care and benefit from shorter dog walks. It is helpful to consult with your veterinarian before embarking on a walking routine with your senior or overweight canine companion.
5. Keep Fleas and Ticks at Bay
Hot weather also signals the arrival of various pests, including fleas and ticks. Typically found in tall grass and woods, they quickly can turn enjoyable dog walks into uncomfortable outings. Your veterinarian can recommend a prescription flea and tick treatment for use throughout the summer months and well as quality over-the-counter flea and tick options.
6. Apply Sunscreen
Dogs need sunscreen, too! Dogs with thin hair as well as pink and exposed skin are prone to sunburn and benefit from sunscreen. Keep your pup protected by applying a sunscreen made just for dogs before heading out for dog walks, and reapply as directed.
7. Have Fun!
Leisurely summer dog walks are a great way to enjoy the outdoors and to spend quality time with your four-legged friend. Take a break and play a lazy game of tug or give your dog a massage. Have a picnic or take a snooze.
During dog walks, allow your pup to lazily sniff along the way. Doing so provides mental enrichment along with the physical exercise; it is the perfect combination for a happy dog.
Hot summer weather can provide some challenges to your daily dog walking routine, but a little planning and extra care ensures that your dog walks are enjoyable for you and your pet. So, whether you use a dog collar or a dog harness, grab your dog leash and go for a walk; your dog will thank you!
Jennifer Mauger is a professional dog trainer certified by the Certification Council of Professional Dog Trainers (CCPDT.org), and she owns L’Chaim Canine, a dog training service in Akron, Ohio.
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