You want to find the balance between keeping your dog active and avoiding heat stroke! These ideas for exercising dogs in hot weather will help you keep your dog healthy and happy.
Pictured is a GoPet TreadWheel For Small Dogs – it looks like a hamster wheel, but it’s actually a type of dog treadmill. At first glance, this seems like an expensive idea for exercising your dog in hot weather, but the dog reviews on Amazon are very positive. If your dog has tons of energy and you have no time to walk him, then this may be the solution – hot weather or not.
Swimming is the most obvious way to exercise dogs in hot sunny weather, but not all dogs like to swim. And not all dog owners live close to a lake, beach, or swimming pool that allows doggy paddlers of the canine persuasion. Here are a few tips on exercising dogs in hot weather – because no matter how hot it is, dogs need to burn off their treats, kibble, and raw food.
How to Exercise Dogs in Hot Weather
Dogs should exercise – even in hot weather – because a tired dog is a happy dog (and a happy owner). A well-exercised dog is calmer, more well-behaved, and sometimes even more obedient.
Pay attention to your dog’s behavior. Don’t push your dog to run in the heat! When I searched the internet for ideas on exercising dogs in hot weather, I found dozens of articles from people who see owners pushing their dogs to run alongside bikes and roller blades in the heat. If your dog’s tongue is dragging along the sidewalk or if you’re sweating buckets, then maybe you should reconsider exercising on a hot summer day. Your dog will do whatever you ask (unless she’s a terrier), even if it causes heat stroke. Always play it safe – choosing to NOT exercise your dog in hot weather is better than taking a risk with your dog’s health.
Find a forest, preferably with a river or stream. We’re blessed to live in North Vancouver, where there are many forests and streams. The water tends to dry up towards the end of August (it’ll be early August at this rate, because our summer has been so hot and dry!) – but the streams and are still flowing on the North Shore of Vancouver. This is my favorite way to exercise our dogs in hot weather: hike alongside a flowing stream in a forest glade.
Get a dog cooling pad for hot summer days. If your dog gets really hot – perhaps you have a husky or Alaskan malamut – looking into the Green Pet Shop Self Cooling Dog Pads on Amazon. Some dogs go for a walk around the block in the summer, and are drooping from the heat. What better than to come home to a cool pad to lounge on? I might get one for myself
Hose your dog down before going out for a walk. Both our dogs intensely dislike (hate, despise) getting bathed or watered down in any way, but it’s a great way to keep them cool in hot weather – especially if you have to exercise them. Make sure you turn on the hose for a few minutes before hosing your dog down, as the water in garden hoses gets very hot in the sun. When you come back from exercising your dog, hose him down again.
Turn the sprinkler on! Another idea for exercising your dog in hot weather is to turn the sprinkler on, and toss a ball or frisbee back and forth through the water. Of course, this only works if your dog likes to jump through sprinklers.
Know your dog. Some dogs tolerate the heat really well, such as whippets, beagles, schnauzers, and border collies. Others, such as huskies and chow chows, overheat really quickly in hot weather because they have a thick coat and undercoat. If your breed that overheats fast, then it’s probably best not to exercise your dog in hot weather.
Exercise early or late in the day. Probably the best idea for exercising your dog in hot weather is to go for a walk before it feels like a furnace! Or, wait until evening when the sun is dipping. Let your dog rest in the basement, in front of a fan, or in a cool crawlspace during the hottest part of the day.
Get thee to a beach – preferably a shady one. I’ve already said swimming is the most obvious way to exercise your dog in hot weather – but even dogs who don’t like to swim might like to wade in the shallow end of a lake or ocean. My terrier Georgie will lie down in a lake if it’s super hot, but my bichon friche Tiffy won’t dip even a toe in.
Fill a doggy pool with fresh cold water. Some dogs could spend all day lounging in a shallow pond, while others avoid pools like the plague! Lounging in a pool isn’t a good way to exercise your dog in hot weather, but it may be the healthiest way to survive the heat of a summer day. Save the exercise for the fall, when the weather is crisp and cool!
After you exercise your dog in hot weather, the best idea is to give him a treat. Here’s an easy way to make frozen dog treats with yogurt and Cheerios.
How to Deal With Heatstroke in Dogs
I exercise my dogs in hot weather by wandering through the forest and spending time near the streams. I also watch them very carefully for signs of distress.
Here are several signs of heatstroke in dogs, from the BC SPCA website:
- Exaggerated panting (or the sudden stopping of panting)
- Rapid or erratic pulse
- Weakness and muscle tremors
- Lack of coordination
- Convulsions or vomiting
As you can see, the signs of heatstroke in dogs progress from panting (which dogs do normally, to cool down) to collapsing. The best idea for exercising your dog in hot weather is to keep a close watch on how your dog is doing.
If your dog (or any pet) shows symptoms of heatstroke, you should:
- Immediately move him to a cool, shady place
- Wet your dog with cool water
- Fan vigorously to promote evaporation. Do not apply ice, which constricts blood flow
- Allow the dog to drink some cool water
- Take the dog to a veterinarian
Hopefully, you’ll never have to deal with heatstroke in your dog because you’ll exercise him carefully and thoughtfully!
What have I missed? I welcome your thoughts on exercising dogs on hot summer days…