Dogs need exercise even in the hot weather, but there are ways to do it that keep their comfort and safety in mind. Like us, dogs are affected by the extremes of weather. To prevent heat exhaustion and burned feet, follow these 7 tips for giving your dog exercise in hot weather.
Time of Day
Extreme heat is draining and physically stressful for most humans, and for our dogs too. Even if the heat is not bothersome to you, keep in mind that to cool off naturally, your dog does not sweat over their whole body the way you do. Extreme temperatures are harder for them to deal with. Minimize exercise and activity in the hottest parts of the day. Walks and outside play are better in the early morning, late afternoon or evening, not in the middle of the hot day. Even if that midday lunch break is a great time and perfectly tolerable for you to go for a jog, it may not be for your dog. Do something different and go for a nighttime walk after dark on occasion, if you live in a safe area. You both might enjoy the change.
Cool Exercise Alternatives
Play in the water to give both you and your dog exercise and keep them cooler at the same time. Go for a swim, run through the sprinkler or go to the beach to keep active and cool at the same time. If you have the space, buy a small kiddie pool just for your dog to cool off. Put it somewhere in the yard where your dog can have access to it. Keep a big beach towel nearby to prevent your dog from running into the house soaking wet after playtime.
For dogs who love to swim, playing in the water has many benefits. Swimming is an all-around healthy activity for your dog. It provides everything from exercise to stimulation, and a needed release for all that energy dogs have.
Exercise and Playtime
The most obvious benefit of swimming for your dog is exercise. Dogs often have excess energy to burn which needs to be channeled into activities that keep them active and healthy, and keeps them from being destructive out of boredom. Swimming is good for the whole body, from cardio to muscles. When a dog can swim, they are naturals and adapt to it very quickly. A good swimmer is fun to watch in the water.
Dogs who love to swim get a great deal of pleasure out of the activity. Some dogs will swim for hours, which is phenomenal exercise. It is even more fun when you go swimming along with your dog in the sea, a pool, or a lake. To add a little more excitement to the activity, bring along a ball or other object that floats for your dog to swim after and fetch.
With all the open space, the beach is the perfect place to take your dog for an invigorating outing to get fresh air and exercise. Even in cooler months, the non-water activities at the beach can be a great way to burn off excess dog energy and provide refreshing outdoor play time. If you have kids in your home, this is a fun outing for the whole family and good bonding time with your dog.
During hot weather, pick cooler times of the day to go for a beach outing with your dog. Early mornings or evenings are best on excessively hot days. That’s when the sand is more tolerable for paws to walk on. Going at off times also makes it easier to play on the beach with fewer people there.
Some beaches allow dogs to roam freely. Others require all dogs to be on a leash. You can adapt any of the following activities for play on or off the leash. For play that involves running, if you are not physically able to run yourself, with the use of an extra-long lead instead of a standard shorter leash, your dog can still run and play.
Bring toys that are heavy enough to throw, even if the beach is windy. Include toys that can float if your dog goes in the water to play.
Highly energetic dogs need ways to channel all their excess energy. Otherwise, they might find more destructive ways to use up their energy, such as destroying your belongings. It’s a good idea to have a variety of fun activities that will help them burn off energy in healthy and productive ways, while keeping their mind stimulated.
Chasing and Fetching
Play active games in the yard or park with your dog. If you have enough space in your home, you can play more subdued forms of these games inside.
Balls are always a favorite toy for high energy dogs; just be sure to get one that is the right size for your dog. A small dog may not be able to handle a large ball and will give up on the activity. A large dog can choke on a ball that is too small. With training, some dogs can even play a dog form of soccer with large balls.
Flying discs such as the classic Frisbee is another favorite. This is a perfect activity for a high energy dog. If trained properly, the activity can even be competitive with other dogs and owners. Running, leaping and learning to catch and return the disc is not only great for an active dog, but a lot of fun for you as well.
Your dog might find bubbles fun and fascinating. You can use the simple bubble wands that release one or two bubbles at a time, or a battery operated bubble blower that shoots multiple bubbles at once to really get your dog running and leaping. Your high energy dog will have a really good time chasing them all over the yard and popping them. Because your dog will catch the bubbles in their mouth, use only non-toxic bubble solution, or make your own safe bubble solution at home.
We know it’s important to make sure our dogs get proper exercise to help maintain their weight and overall health, and provide mental stimulation. Every dog, regardless of size, needs a chance to stretch their legs every day, but how much exercise is enough? Breed does make a difference in the amount of exercise needed, and a dog that isn’t given a chance to get rid of pent up energy can develop bad behaviors.
Before beginning any strenuous activities, you should have your vet give your dog a checkup to make sure he’s up to a more physical workout. Each dog is an individual and it’s important to create an exercise routine that takes into account breed, age and physical condition. Old or current injuries, weather conditions and the amount of exercise needed should also be considered when it comes to daily exercise.
You can encourage your dog to play with other dogs at the dog park, or learn how to do agility or other dog sports, but you should never force him to do something he isn’t interested in doing. The amount of daily exercise should be based on what a dog was bred to do. That’s one reason why it’s helpful having a general idea of which breeds make up your mixed breed dog.
Keeping your dog on a routine is important. Canines like to know what’s going to happen throughout the day. I guess that makes it easier for them to plan out their busy schedule of chasing the cat, barking at the mailman and wolfing down their tasty CANIDAE food. The daily walk is an important part of your dog’s routine, but it can become a bit boring if you do the same thing every day. It’s good to spice it up now and then, to make it more fun for both of you.
Change the Pace
Many dogs enjoy getting out for a run, and jogging is a good way to build endurance and burn off calories. However, jogging isn’t for everyone or every dog. You can still mix up your pace and walk faster or slower, and in doing so you establish yourself as the leader by controlling the speed. Quickly changing directions helps to teach your dog to pay attention to you. Mixing up both speed and direction can make a walk even more stimulating.
Have Alternate Routes
A walk is not nearly as interesting when you see the same things day in and day out. Varying your route gives you different sights, smells and sounds that enrich the senses of both you and your dog. A nature trail offers different stimulation than a walk around the neighborhood. If you don’t have a trail close by, you can always drive to a nearby park or trail. When you walk out the door with your dog, he will look to you to see what’s going to happen next. Anticipation is part of the fun.
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