We all love being able to spend Summertime walking our dogs, whether it be to a park, the beach or just your usual dog walking route but do you know the dangers of walking dogs when it’s hot?
Exposing your dogs to high temperatures, direct sun and intense exercise can lead to heat stroke – a dangerous and potentially fatal condition, especially in older dogs, dogs with shorter snouts and dogs battling pre-existing illnesses but this doesn’t eliminate otherwise perfectly healthy dogs.
SIGNS OF HEAT STROKE:
Early signs of heat stroke include rapid panting, excessive drooling, walking at a slower pace, trying to lie down or seeking out shade.
As heat stroke progresses, dogs can develop bright red, pale or blue gums, vomiting, diarrhea, difficulty breathing, abnormal bleeding and bruising and seizures.
These are all scary experiences for both dogs and owners and are easily preventable by following these tips:
Time your daily walks so that you avoid the hottest part of the day. You’re most likely to have a better experience for you and your dog if you walk them between 9am and 6pm, avoiding the hottest parts of the day.
Dogs with black fur, such as a black Labrador are more likely to feel the effects of walking in the sun as black absorbs heat.
WALKING YOUR DOG:
Due to dogs being closer to the ground, they’re more susceptible to the heat radiating from surfaces such as pavements.
Be mindful that heat coming from black asphalt can be super dangerous for dog’s paws and contact with hot surfaces can lead to pad burn. When it comes to stepping onto the beach the same rule applies to sand as it does to pavements. If it’s too hot for you, it will be too hot for your dog.
To test how hot the pavement is, rest your hand on it. If it becomes intolerable to you for longer than a few seconds, it will probably be the same or worse for your dog.
If you and your dog normally walk at a fast-paced speed, considering slowing it down on hot and humid days. You won’t be depriving your dog of exercise and they’ll enjoy stopping and sniffing their way through the neighborhood. It’s a great idea to follow your dog’s lead (pun intended) to ensure that you’re both rested, re-energised and well hydrated.
Many dogs instinctively know when it’s time to chill out during a walk and will move toward a shady patch beneath a tree for a brief rest, while others keep moving even though their tongues are nearly touching the ground. It’s a good idea for both ends of the leash to find cool resting points beneath trees along your route for mandatory timeouts. Encourage your dog to stretch out on the grass for a few minutes, and when you’re both ready, continue at a leisurely pace, and then head home for a big drink of water.
DOGS IN HOT CARS:
As temperatures soar, tragically, we see more headlines about pets who have passed away after being left in hot cars.
Dogs cannot regulate their temperatures as well as humans can and will become fatally ill very, very quickly when left in a car. In the time it takes to go into the shop to pick up a few items, a dog can suffer terribly or worst case – die, even with the window left open.
Following the above guidelines will ensure that both you and your pooch will get the most out of your walk.