Exercising Your Dog in the Summer
According to the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention, approximately 56% of dogs in the United States are either overweight or obese. Just like in humans, being overweight can cause a variety of health problems in our pets, including heart disease, diabetes, and even an increased risk of cancer.
Besides feeding a healthy diet, including a high fiber dog food if necessary to help your pooch keep the pounds off, exercise is a critical factor to keep your dog in good health.
Of course, exercising your dog in the summer heat comes with the added risk of heat stroke, a potentially fatal condition that can happen when our canine companions can’t keep their cool.
10 Tips for Exercising Your Dog in the Summer
1. Cold, Fresh Water
Make sure your dog always has access to cold fresh water, but particularly during the warm summer months.
If your dog enjoys time in the yard, make sure she has plenty of shade to escape the sun’s rays in her play area. Enclosed areas like dog houses can sometimes get even hotter than the rest of the yard if they are not adequately protected from those sun’s rays.
3. Frozen Puzzle
If your dog spends time outside during the day, try dropping a favorite toy and some of her kibbles in a bowl full of water and then freezing it. Dump the whole block of ice in the grass and watch your pup get some exercise while enjoying a chilly puzzle.
4. Dawn and Dusk
Consider bumping your walk and play schedules to the coolest part of the day. You will find that not only is your dog more willing to be active, but you will get more enjoyment out of the outdoors during these times as well.
5. Toasty Toes
If you live in an area where walking on hot pavement is your only option for potty breaks, consider getting some booties for your dog to protect her sensitive paws from the hot pavement. If it’s too hot for your bare feet, it’s too hot for hers.
6. Make the Most of Indoors
Unless you have a very large dog and a tiny apartment, you can help your pet stay active inside by playing games such as fetch, find it, and tug. Or, have the members of your family stand in different rooms of the house, each with a handful of your pooch’s regular rations of kibble, taking turns calling her and rewarding her for a fun movement game that will also improve her recall skills.
7. Go for a Swim
If you live near natural areas with streams, a nice refreshing dip in the creek is a summer’s daydream for a dog. If not, even a small kiddie pool with cold water can help her stay cool while enjoying outdoor activities in the yard. Also, check in with your local public pool. Some of them offer special “Dog Swims” during the summer.
8. Know the Warning Signs
Make sure to familiarize yourself with the warning signs of heat stroke, as well as what to do in an emergency if you suspect your dog may be overheating.
9. At-Risk Dogs
If your dog is excessively overweight, a senior, a double coated breed, or a Brachycephalic breed (in other words, with a short muzzle like a pug, bulldog or boxer), try to avoid the heat altogether since even minimal exertion in hot and humid environments can be dangerous.
10. Never Leave Your Dog in the Car
Unfortunately, many beloved pets die every year because people do not realize just how quickly a car can turn into an oven on an even moderately warm day. Please, never, ever leave your dog in the car, even for a minute!
Keep it Cool: Tips for Exercising Your Dog in the Summer”
Guest Author: Mat Coulton, Founder of www.wileypup.com
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