Lately dogs and their owners have been spending a lot of time outside taking advantage of the fresh air and warm weather. Of course, we love to share the fun with our four-legged kids, but before you start jogging, hiking, or biking in the heat with your dog by your side, it’s important for you to understand summer safety as it pertains to our pups.
- Just as for humans, a gradual introduction into exercise to better increase your pet’s stamina as well as prepare the pads on their paws. Dog pads can easily blister if too soft, so it is important to start very slow and increase the amount of exercise gradually to help the pads harden. You can monitor this gradual increase of activity with your Fi Collar, adjusting the step goals as the season progresses.
- Choose the best time of day to exercise—noon is not it! The best time to enjoy your pet’s company is early in the morning or later in the evening. If you can’t set your palm flat on the asphalt and hold it in place for 7 seconds, then it’s too hot for your pooch! Where possible, consider little booties to protect those feet, or try to exercise on a grassy or dirt surface.
- Try wetting a bandana and wrapping it around your dog’s neck while you’re jogging or hiking. For longer excursions, or for hotter climates, wet a bandana and place it in the freezer the night before so it will remain colder longer.
- Always have plenty of water close by. There are many devices available that can provide water automatically or on-demand, but a simple suggestion is to fill the water bowl the night before and place it in the freezer. The next day, leave the bowl outside with the big block of ice, which will melt slowly allowing a continuous supply of cold water.
- Overheating doesn’t always come from over-exertion, many dogs can overheat by lying around the house or backyard. If your pup is inside, make sure the shades are drawn so the room stays cool. If leaving pets outside during the summer, make sure that shade and fresh water are always available.
- It is extremely important to recognize the early signs of heat stroke. A dog who is on the verge of heat stroke will begin to pant uncontrollably and salivate excessively. Their tongues may look overly red—almost purplish—and they will begin to feel very warm to the touch. As soon as you begin to recognize any of these signs, it is critical to get your dog out of the heat immediately. Try to find a shady spot, and slowly moisten their mouths with cool water, soak the pads of their paws down in cool water, and wet them down completely with cool water from a hose or a soaked towel.
Summer is a great time of year to further bond with your pets. I encourage all of you to get outdoors, enjoy the warmth and sunshine, and to include your four-legged kids in your activities. Just remember to play it smart and keep them safe.