It might be hot outside, but a dog's boundless energy stops for nothing, including sky high temperatures. Endless energy is something all pet owners want to deal with, but it's a little hard to get Fido's spunk out when trapped inside, especially if you live in a smaller place. Unfortunately, heat waves can present problems of their own for both humans and pets. So how can you get a little dog exercise in hot weather in?
Dogs aren't immune to the challenges of hot weather. Much like humans, heat can increase the risk of overheating, heat exhaustion, dehydration, and heat stroke. If you absolutely have to get your pup out during the summer, make sure to tackle playtime with poise. Keep your dog cool while they play so everyone can go inside at the end of the day without issues. Here's how to burn off some energy, keep your pup safe in the heat, and have a fun time doing it.
Keeping Dogs Cool While Having Fun in the Sun
1. Adjust Your Play Time
There's no doubt your furry friend enjoys a long walk, but in the warm summer months, that may look a little bit different. Try exercising with your dog in the early morning hours or in the late evening, before the hot weather sets in.
At this time of day, your pup is less likely to get too warm, and it is safer for their paw pads. However, summer days can get very warm in the middle of the day and early afternoon, so the slight time adjustment in your routine can make a big difference for your furry family member. Bring along a water bottle so your pup can get a drink if need be, especially if the day starts to head toward high temperatures before you finish your walk.
2. Wear Booties For Walks
The summer sun can heat up the pavement, causing it to be too hot for your pup's paws, even if you adjust your walking time to earlier in the day.
Remember, if the ground is too hot for the palm of your hand, it is too hot for your dog's paws. Always test the ground before you take them out for a walk to ensure it is dog safe. The hot summer sun can affect the asphalt and cement much faster than you would think.
3. Interactive Dog Toys
Another way to get energy out in warm weather is to find some interactive toys for your pup to play with. These toys can be played with inside or in the shade and don't usually take too much physical activity but use a lot of brainpower. If your pup is using their brainpower, they're burning some energy.
Some great interactive toys are puzzles, treat balls, shakers toys, and wobble balls. They even have interactive robots designed to play with your pup.
4. Water-Related Activities
Nothing beats the heat quite like water. Placing ice cubes in your pup's water bowl throughout the day will keep them cool but won't burn their energy. Kiddie pools filled with fresh water will help keep your pup cool in the summertime all while giving them an activity that will burn off some of their energy.
Some pups will grab a water-safe toy and play in their kiddie pool, while others will simply swim around or lay in the water. My pup is a huge fan of the kiddie pool. However, being the crazy border collie mix that she is, she uses it as a pit stop for her zoomies, jumping in and rolling around before tearing off across the yard. If your pup is not a fan of the kiddie pool, you can set up a sprinkler for your pup to run through, keeping their body temperature lower while they play.
5. Doggie Day Care
Another option is taking your pup to doggie daycare. Some places have indoor activities for your pup to do with things like doggy treadmills and obstacle courses, while others have pools for your pup to swim in.
This is a great option, too if you are at work during the day and worry about your pooch being bored and not getting all their energy out when you get home and the weather is too hot for your dog to exercise.
6. Indoor Activities
There are many indoor activities you can do with your pup. While it might not be ideal to let them run around in your home, you can play tug-o-war with them inside.
Playing indoor games or with toys can release some of your pup's pent-up energy while saving them from the heat.
7. Training Time!
Always wanted to teach your pup to stand on their hind legs and give you a hug? Maybe you have loftier goals and want to teach your pup to speak. Hot summer days are the perfect time to tackle those training goals, even if you just want to brush up on their "sit and stay" skills.
Using their brain and working through obedience training tasks can provide just enough of a mental workout that it will burn off some of your pup's energy.
8. Take the Stairs
If you have stairs in your home or access to a set, you have a perfect exercise location. Have a friend stand at the top of the stairs while you stand at the bottom.
Take turns calling your dog and offering a treat. He'll be happy to run up and down, not realizing how much he is working. It's an easy way to tire out your dog.
9. Indoor Doggie Playdates
If doggie daycare is not an option because of the heat or availability, a playdate with a friend or neighbor's dog inside can be an excellent way for your pup to socialize and let off some energy. They can wrestle, chase one another, and play tug.
While the summer heat can make exercise more challenging, you don't have to be stuck with an over-excited dog. Use these different ideas to burn off your dog's energy and keep him happy all season long.
10. DIY Obstacle Course
We've all seen the Tik Toks and Instagram reels of pups going through indoor obstacle courses. Now it's your turn to set one up for your pup.
Not only will you get some social media-worthy footage, but your pup will also get in great exercise.
Signs of Heat Exhaustion
Heat exhaustion can be detrimental to your pup. It is very important to look out for signs of overheating while your pup is playing. If your pooch begins to overheat, use cool water over their fur and have them sit either inside or in the shade.
Certain breeds will overheat more easily than others. Dogs like pugs, bulldogs, beagles, and huskies all do better in colder temperatures. For short nose dogs, respiratory issues can easily arise. These brachycephalic pups can even have issues when they are not exercising. If you notice that your pup is having difficulty breathing, you need to make sure they get inside and cooled off. It never hurts to consult with your vet as well.
Heatstroke Symptoms and Solutions
Another thing to watch out for while your pup plays are signs of heatstroke. Here's what you should look out for:
- Heavy panting
- Rapid heart rate
- Disoriented behavior
- Bright red gums
- ?Diarrhea or vomiting
- Elevated body temperature higher than 104 F
- Collapse, seizures, coma
The best thing you can do for your pup is to get them as cool as possible. A cold compress and a hose will do the trick. Never use ice, as it can shock your dog's system. It is best to take your pup to the vet, even if you get them cooled off quickly. It never hurts to get an expert's assessment of how your dog is doing.
While your dog is exercising in hot weather, a layer of sunscreen can be helpful to ensure they do not get sunburn. Dogs are susceptible to skin cancer just like humans are.
Lighter and shorter fur dogs can get it more easily than pups with heavier fur, so you have to be especially careful as these dogs exercise in hot weather.
How do you get your pup's energy out when it's hot? Tell us over on our Wide Open Pets Facebook page!
This article was originally published July 20, 2021.
Love reading about pets?
Don't miss a story! Sign up for daily stories delivered to your inbox.