As we head into the first of several 90+ degree days this week, I’ve been noticing the pups I walk becoming increasingly reluctant to move at a faster-than-a-snail pace. Around noon today, a dog who normally wants to explore far away from her home refused to go any further than the end of her street before pulling on the leash to turn around. Our normal 30-40 minute walk was a measly 15 minutes, but Rosie was thrilled to get back inside her air conditioned home and drink half her bowl of water.
Rosie’s behavior, as well as a few others on some of the hotter days this month got me thinking about how important it is for dog owners (and other puppy caretakers) to pay attention to the effects the weather can have on our furball friends – so here are a few tips on keeping your pup cool in the hot summer months:
#1 Always keep plenty of cool, fresh water available to your dog.
When I say plenty, I mean plenty. Sometimes we underestimate how hot our homes can get while we’re out and about for the day. Leave a couple bowls full of water around the house in rooms your dog usually hangs out in. You can throw some ice cubes in before you leave for the day to ensure the water stays cool.
#2 Walk your dog early in the morning, or in the evening.
Aside from letting your dog out for a bathroom break, try to get his exercise in earlier in the morning or later in the evening, rather than during the hottest peak hours in the early afternoon. While exercise is important for dogs, you don’t want him to over do it when it’s too hot out.
#3 Never, ever, ever, ever leave your dog unattended in a parked car in the summer.
Have you ever gotten into your car at 1 PM on an 80+ degree day, after it’s been parked in the sun all morning and had a wave of heat smack you in the face? 80 degrees outside means much, much higher temperatures in your car. Even if you crack your windows, the car is still going to heat up to temperatures much higher inside than outside. Don’t leave your pal in that sauna.
#4 Bring a water bottle for you and your pup.
Staying hydrated is important for both you and your dog, especially in hot weather. When it’s hot out, or if I’m going on a particularly longer-than-usual walk with a doggy client, I make sure to bring a water bottle for both me and the pup, along with a collapsible water bowl for the dogs to drink out of.
#5 Get a kiddie (or puppy) pool!
Many dogs love to swim, and having a pool of water is a great way for them to cool down after getting exercise on hot days. One of my clients, who doesn’t have children, purchased a kiddie pool for her puppy, who hates hot weather but loves to run in the back yard. On hot days, when we get back from our walks, the puppy runs circles around the backyard before jumping into his pool. You can find these pretty cheap in store, or online.
The most important thing you can do for your pup in hot weather is to pay attention to what your pet is telling you. While I felt okay to keep moving on our walk today, Rosie let me know when she was too tired to keep going – rather than push her to continue for the 30 minute walk her owner booked, I listened to her and turned around. We spent the rest of the time playing inside her cooled home, but I would never push a dog to keep going. While dogs can’t exactly speak, they can let us know in other ways when they’ve reach their limit.
If you need someone to check up on your pup while you’re at work on hot days, take a look on Rover for pet sitters and dog walkers in your area. If you go through this link and use code FIRSTWALK2020, you’ll get $20 off your first booking. 🙂