Summer Tips for Dogs #1: Is It Too Hot to Walk My Dog?
Dogs can struggle with heat, and hot pavement can quickly cause severe burns to your dog’s paws. After constantly debating whether it’s too hot to walk my dog when it’s 90 degrees in Baltimore, I have accumulated a few important precautions for summer walks.
First, you want to test the temperature of the pavement. Simply place the back of your hand on the pavement and hold it there for ten seconds. If you have to take it off the pavement before the ten seconds are up, it is too hot for your dog’s paws. This very easy, tactical tip is especially helpful for a dog owner who does not want to ruin their dog’s favorite part of the day!
Paw checks are another great tip to make sure that your pet is not burning their paws. Usually I will find a shady spot to stop, offer my dog some water, and double check the pads of my dog’s paws to make sure they are still cool. I also take the time to wet down my dog’s paws, ears, belly and inner legs to keep them comfortable as we continue our walk. Applying coconut oil to your dog’s pads after a walk will also help soothe their dry paws. Springtime’s Skin and Coat Oil is a great addition to any dog’s daily regimen to keep their pads healthy and moist. Skin and Coat Oil is made up of seven different seed oils to help provide healthy and beautiful coats and itch free skin – simply squeeze it on top of your dog’s food bowl, and even the pickiest dogs do not seem to mind the smell or taste!
Other heat warnings…
If the pavement is not something you need to worry about, is it too hot to walk your dog in a grassy area when it is scorching outside? Avoid the afternoon heat by planning your walks in the morning or evening. Humans have the luxury of overall cooling; dogs do not. Although dogs do have a few sweat glands on their body (but a lot less than humans), most of their sweat glands are found around their paw pads. You may see dog footprints on the pavement when you’re walking your dog which is their sweat. In order to cool themselves down in the most effective way, dogs pant. By panting, the dog is moving heat from the warmest part of their body (trachea) and exhaling that hot air in order to circulate their breath, start the process of evaporation, and eventually cool down.
Keep an eye out for signs of dehydration. This would include excessive panting, drooling, bloodshot eyes, or an appearance of lethargy. If for some reason you believe your dog is showing signs of being dehydrated and overheated, cool your pet down by applying wet compresses to their neck, armpits, and inner hind legs.
Always bring a water bottle with you in case you do not have access to fresh water along your walk. See the links at the bottom of this post for a few of my favorite on the go water bowls for my dog. Hot weather is also a great excuse to find a cool spot for your dog to swim, whether it is a stream, lake or pool.
Be sure to see if your dog should get a summer haircut!