When to Walk Your Dog to Avoid the Heat
Most caring and responsible dog owners make sure to give their canine pals at least one good walk a day. This is because walking your dog regularly is far more than just an opportunity for them to do their bathroom business outside of the boundaries of your property. It is also instrumental to both their physical and mental health. Dogs are very much like human children. Being confined makes them bored and irritable. Instead, they require considerable mental stimulation, the chance for socialization, and opportunities to learn which behaviors are appropriate and which aren’t. To obtain this, they need to explore the sights, sounds, and smells that the world has to offer! Ever noticed how dogs get so excited at the prospect of going for a walk? This is because they can’t wait to burn off some energy and have some fun outside of the confines of your home!
With summer fast approaching, walking your dog will remain important, but you will have to reconsider when you will take your canine companion out. This is because the rising temperatures will mean that walking in the middle part of the day isn’t only uncomfortable, but it can be downright dangerous for your furry friend.
Why does my dog need to avoid walking in the heat?
Dogs can be affected by the sun and the heat in much the same way as humans can. Sunburn is just one of the issues that they face, and while their coats provide some protection, the skin beneath can still get burnt. However, this isn’t the only issue. Dogs are also at risk of overheating – a condition known as heatstroke – and dehydration, both of which can be fatal if not spotted and treated quickly.
Burnt foot pads are also a concern. If the ground is too hot when you take your dog for a walk, the sensitive pads on their feet can be burnt – something which is extremely painful and should be avoided at all costs. Fortunately, these problems can all be avoided by choosing the right time to walk your dog to avoid the heat.
When is it best to walk my dog when it is hot?
Unsurprisingly, the middle part of the day should be avoided at all costs. This is particularly true between 11 am and 3 pm when the sun is at its strongest. Most veterinarians advise that owners choose to walk their pets first thing in the morning or last thing at night when the temperatures are at their coolest. This also gives the ground time to cool down, which is essential if you are to avoid burning your pet’s paws. It is still advisable to check the ground temperature before you go out as some types hold heat longer than others – for example, asphalt tends to stay hot longer than grass does. Rest the back of your hand on the ground and see how long you can comfortably hold it there. If you can’t maintain contact for more than 5 seconds, it is still too hot for your dog to walk on safely.
If you are planning on walking for more than 15 minutes, take a collapsible bowl and some water with you so that you can offer your dog a drink regularly. This is important since walking is much harder to work when the temperature and humidity are higher, and your canine pal will almost certainly need to drink more. It is also worth considering cutting your usual route and walking time since dogs should exercise a little less in the heat. Watch your pet carefully for signs that they are becoming too hot or uncomfortable, and if you are concerned, offer water and contact your vet immediately.
For more advice on looking after your dog during the summer, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with our friendly and knowledgeable veterinary team.