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Keep Fido Cool - When It's Too Hot to Walk.

Posted by Kelly Jansens on

When is it too hot to walk your dog? I have been doing some on-line reading and the consensus seems to be around 70 degrees. I always walked Bodie early morning and at dusk at night. Never really long walks unless it has cooled down considerably. His favorite adventure was to go swimming, which is great exercise and cools down your pup too.

Another way to check if it is too hot for your dog, is to do the five-second hand test on pavement. Put your hand palm faced up and if you can keep the back of your hand comfortably on the pavement for five seconds, then it should not toast your pup’s feet.


Here are Cesar's Top 10 Tips for beating the summer heat!

By Cesar Millan

1) Exercise your dog early in the morning or late at night.
Since these are the cooler parts of the day, this will make the walk more comfortable for both you and your dog. I'm a believer in vigorous exercise for healthy dogs, but this is the time of year to back off on exercise intensity.

2) Use doggie boots.
You can find these at your local pet supply store. If you can't walk your dog during the early and later hours of the day, this is a good way of protecting him. Heat rises from the ground, especially on surfaces like cement and asphalt, and dogs absorb and release heat through their feet. Just like boots prevent the dog from absorbing the cold in the winter, they also isolate heat.

3) Watch for signs of dehydration.
Dogs can't sweat. They cool off by panting, so an overheated dog will drool excessively. It will become lethargic, its eyes will be bloodshot, and it may appear a little pale. If you lift its skin, it will take longer than usual for the skin to fall back into place.

4) Keep your dog hydrated!
Different dogs have different needs when battling the heat. Keep in mind that darker coats absorb more heat than lighter coats. Also, overweight dogs are at higher risk for dehydration. Carry a bottle of water when going on a walk with your dog. Better yet have your dog carry it for you in a backpack or a vest! The water in the bottles will keep the dog cooler and also give the dog a sense of purpose.

5) Find innovative ways to cool your dog.
Don't have air conditioning? No problem! Find a spot in the shade and set up a kiddie pool. Lay down a wet towel for your dog to lie on. Or simply set up a fan in front of a pan of ice. At the Dog Psychology Center, we have sprinklers that spray the dogs with a gentle mist of water.

6) Dogs cool from the bottom up.
Make sure to spray the paws and stomach, not just the top of the dog, when spraying it with water. A wet towel does more good on the bottom of your dog than when laid on the top of its coat.

7) Let your dog dig!
Your dog may resort to finding his own way to avoid the heat. Dog in nature dig their dens not out of frustration but to find food, hide, give birth--or keep cool! If it's possible, locate a shady area where it's okay for your dog to dig.

8) Let your dog check the weather.
Dogs don't have the Weather Channel, so they don't know why they are being denied a long walk for the day. Allow your dog to step outside and feel for itself that it is too hot, too wet, or too cold to go on a long walk. Instinctually, the dog will understand that it has to shorten its walk, or simply come back inside where it's safe.

9) Never leave your dog in a parked car.
The car retains more heat than an open area, even if it is in the shade. Plus, a dog may get overexcited in the car due to passersby or panic from claustrophobia, making dehydration more likely. On longer trips, make sure you have water for the dog and keep the AC running.

10) Use hot weather as an excuse to swim more often!
The best activity you can do in summertime or hot weather is swimming. Instead of walking the dog, take the dog on a swim! If you hold on and allow your dog to take you around the pool, it becomes a powerful bonding experience for the two of you, similar to the walk.

Yes, I like the last tip…SWIM! Michigan is fortunate to have some great dog beaches or find a park that has a creek that your dog can cool off in. Kiddie pools are in expensive as well.

Enjoy the weather and keep your pup cool and safe.

Love, Peace & Wags,





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  • Important post Kelly. I would add that like humans dogs have their own individualized tolerance for heat and humidity. Watch them closely and pay attention to how they deal with heat and what they communicate to you. They know their limits and it is our responsibility to respect their needs.

    Michael De Meyer on

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