Here are 10 dog walking and dog care tips to prevent heatstroke and dehydration on hot summer days.
1. Keep dogs hydrated
We always carry plenty of fresh cold water and a couple of collapsable water bowls for dogs to drink frequently while out for a walk. For very hot days, some of the water can be frozen in the bottles the night before.
2. Take the dogs for a swim!
On those scorching hot days, go swimming! Most dogs love the water, especially if introduced to it in a non-threatening way. If your dog still prefers to keep their paws on the ground for now, on hot days, even they may choose to become more adventurous and paddle or wade along the shore or keep cool in the wet sand. Don’t toss your puppy in the deep end to sink or swim. Show them gently how much fun walking in the water can be.
3. Protect dogs feet from the heat
Since heat is absorbed and then rises from paved surfaces, on hot days it’s best to stick to shadier, tree-lined paths or trails, or choose shaded grassy areas to walk the dogs. When it’s super hot outside, we love dog walking in the shade along a river, under a canopy of big trees. The breeze blows over the water and is very refreshing.
4. Reduce the intensity of exercise
Vigorous exercise is important, but during very hot weather, we ensure the dogs take it easier and take more breaks so they don’t get overheated. While dog walking, we keep a close eye out for signs of fatigue.
5. Watch for signs of overheated dogs
Since dogs don’t sweat like we do, be aware of the signs of canine dehydration and heatstroke. An overheated dog becomes quickly fatigued and listless. Dogs cool off by panting, so watch for excessive drooling, which can lead to dehydration. Take extra care with overweight dogs, dogs with short snouts, elderly dogs, and dogs with thick dark fur.
6. Fun ways to keep your dog cool
Sprinklers or a gentle mist of water is a great way to keep dogs cooled off in summertime. Put a kiddie pool in the shade of a tree or under an umbrella, or place wet towels down for dogs to lay on. If you don’t have air conditioning, a easy way to create your own cool breeze is to put a fan in front of a tray of ice cubes.
7. Cool the underside of your dog
If you don’t have a sprinkler, your dogs may enjoy some careful misting from a spray bottle. Don’t just spray or pour water on your dogs’ back. Make sure you are wetting their bellies, armpits, and paws too. A wet towel on the ground for your dog to lay on, cools your dog more effectively than laying the wet towel on top of it’s fur.
8. Take advantage of the cool earth or cool tile
A natural way for dogs to cool off is to dig a hole in the shade and lay their stomachs down on the cool earth. If your dog is too hot and there is an appropriate spot, let your dog know it’s okay if they want to dig. Lying flat out on a tile floor in the basement, or (especially an air conditioned) kitchen or bathroom is also great way for dogs to cool off.
9. Whip up some yummy frozen treats
10. Never leave dogs in a parked car
Dogs can very quickly become dangerously overheated inside a parked car. Never leave dogs unattended in a car in the heat, even in the shade. Vehicles retain heat, and the stress of being alone in a confined space can cause dogs to become panicked and even more dehydrated. If you must leave a dog in a vehicle for a very short while, ensure the air conditioning is running and the dog has plenty of water. Better yet, if possible, leave your dog in a cool place while you run those errands in the car.
Have a safe and happy summer with your pup!