Summer is here so it’s time for dog owners everywhere to brush up on whether or not their pup is a high-risk breed, how to recognize heatstroke in dogs, steps to take to prevent overheating and what activities are best for dogs during hot weather. It’s something that isn’t talked about enough, but overheating is dangerous, as it can very quickly lead to illness and even death. In order to make sure Angus Post readers are well informed we’ve developed the Summer Dog Series. Read on to discover our top 5 summer activities to do with your dog that are less likely to overheat them. For further info on overheating in dogs, check out the other parts of this series here:
1. A shady morning or evening hike
The hottest hours of the day in the summer are 11am to 4pm. Taking your dog out before or after the hours that the sun is the hottest is ideal. Even better is taking them on a hike in a shady forested area, where there is tons of coverage and shade to lower the temperature even further. Bonus points for a hike involving water such as a stream, waterfall, or lake at the end of it…you and your dog can have a snack and cool down in the water before heading home. Just make sure to bring plenty of cool water! Having a frozen water bottle is great because as it melts it creates a steady supply of cold water for you and your pup. A doggy water bottle with a drinking trough is also a great idea to always have on hand. Make sure to being a small towel just in case your pup starts to overheat.
2. A trip to the lake or beach
Any outing that involves your pup having free access to water in which they can cool down in is a perfect summer activity. If you are going to the beach, carrying your dog if they are small enough, or having a pair of booties to protect your dog’s feet is a great idea, so that they don’t have to walk over very hot sand to get to the water. Bringing a beach umbrella or tent, and a big beach blanket, as well as tons of cold water is your best bet. Providing plenty of opportunities for your pet to cool down in the shade is important, and try to avoid being out in the sun in the peak heat hours. Encouraging your dog to go swimming by playing fetch with a stick or floating toy in the water, and mandate shade and water breaks for them, while keeping a very close eye on them to monitor for symptoms of overheating.
3. A day at a park with a dog friendly splash-pad
Many parks have water playgrounds or splash pads for kids, and some are animal friendly. Obviously make sure that the one near you is ok with pets, and ensure that your dog is always leashed in accordance to park rules. Some public downtown areas even have water fountains in the ground that people and pets can walk through. Going when there are less or no children is best, as not all kids know how to properly behave around animals, and make sure you know how your dog reacts around them, if they are present. Keep close tabs on your dog and read all park and splash pad rules, but as long as pets are allowed and you follow all the rules, this can be a really fun outing with a dog.
4. A K9 friendly picnic in a shady park
Heading to a park with lots of tree cover for a human-dog picnic is a really fun idea for the summer days. As always, avoid the hottest hours, and bring plenty of cool water, and pack a cute picnic for you and your pup. This is a great idea for a playdate to take with a friend and their dog as well. You can bake some DIY dog treats, pack a lunch for the humans, and make sure you bring supplies to cool down the dogs if they get too hot playing.
5. Swim Day
If you or a friend has a back yard there are tons of cool water-based activities you could do with your dog. A kiddie pool is great for dogs to cool down, and a sprinkler can be a super fun thing for your dog to run around it as well. Lots of dogs love chasing and attacking water, so i you have a spray attachment for your hose, that can be a fun water game to play with your pup. Letting the dogs run around in the shade and water while you and your friends BBQ is a pretty perfect way to spend a summer weekend. Just make sure you are keeping a close eye on the dogs, and making taking periodic breaks to catch their breath and re-hydrate mandatory.