During the Dog Days of Summer, it's important to keep Fido's days cool and easy. But he/she still needs exercise and so do you, so here are five tips to help your pooch beat the heat of summer!
1. Time - The middle of the day or afternoon is NOT the time to walk your dog when it's hot. Early morning hours or evening, after sundown, are best. Walk in the morning and they can expend their energy and relax for the day, while you get your blood pumping. If you walk them in the evening, and they are kenneled at night, then make sure they get plenty of cool down time with access to water.
2. Activity - Walking is, without a doubt, the best way to give your dog exercise. Not only does it keep them in shape, but it also strengthens the bond of you being the leader and boss. Keep them on a short leash and close to your side. Be mindful of the distance you are walking. In extreme heat and humidity, even in the morning you may want to make your dog's walk a little shorter. Whether walking in the early morning or at night, make sure you and your pet are highly visible. Night Ize products feather the handy Spotlit LED Dog Collar Light that blinks or stays lit. Simply attach it to your dog's collar or the leash.
Some dogs LIVE to fetch! From tennis balls to Chuckit! ball launchers to nylon discs and Hyper Pet launchers, there is a fetchable item for just about every dog that can found in a Bass Pro store or online. But, in the extreme heat, keep fetching time and distances short.
Have a sprinkler? Kids aren't the only ones who like to run through them. Some dogs do, too! Turn it on, throw the ball through the sprinkler and see if your dog is one of those who loves to run through to fetch or if they tip-toe around the edge!
3. Communicate - Your dog will let you know when he has had enough or just isn't into it at all! Head down, dragging behind, not perky. Our Airedale LOVED the outdoors, but when he had enough of the heat, he would head to the breezeway and sit staring at the door, longing for his beat up leather chair and air conditioning. Morning walks were always shortened for him, while our livelier, yet smaller and older, Springer Spaniel trotted along for the whole journey. On the other hand, some dogs don't know how to say "no" so you have to do it for them - stop throwing the ball for that Lab that just won't quite and make them take a break.
4. Chill - If your dog has to be outside for any length of time, make sure they have plenty of shade and water. Dogs don't eat as much in the summer heat, but they do need water, water, and more water. A small, hard plastic kids' swimming pool can be a cool heaven for a dog. Make sure to change the water frequently.
5. Shop - Find stores that will allow dogs and take your dog for an inside walk while you shop or just look around. Many Bass Pro Shops do allow dogs on a leash (laws vary by state) and they will be showered with love while visiting. Please call ahead to any Bass Pro Shop you may be visiting to verify if dogs are welcomed.
Last, but not least, check with your local swimming pools to see if they will have a special dog swim. Many communities now host "pooch paddles" or dog days, for dogs to enjoy the swimming pool typically on the last day of the pool season.
Remember, our dogs need exercise, just like we do. Be responsible and be safe for your pet's sake and yours.
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