Making sure dogs get regular exercise is important for their health and well-being. Bringing your dogs outside for physical activity during summer gives them some fresh air and sunshine. However, summertime also comes with certain hazards that can be dangerous for dogs. The following tips can help ensure that your dogs are able to enjoy physical activity outside in summer while staying safe.
Provide Plenty of Water
Having plenty of water to drink helps dogs stay hydrated outside. Drinking water can also help cool them off. Bring plenty of water to give your dogs while they’re outdoors exercising. If you’re filling a water bowl in your yard for your pets, refill it with cold water and keep it in the shade. If you’re heading to a local park for exercise, bring bottled water with you and a bowl for your pets to drink from.
Avoid Extreme Heat
While physical activity is good for dogs, being outside in extreme heat isn’t. Have your dogs exercise indoors during heat waves rather than outside. If you do want to take them outside on hot days, aim to go out early in the morning or later in the evening when it’s cooler. The sun isn’t as strong during these times. If you go out during heat waves, limit the amount of time you spend outside with your dogs in order to avoid heat exhaustion.
Give Healthy Treats and Snacks
Dogs can burn through energy fast when they’re exercising outdoors in the heat. Bringing healthy snacks or treats outside can give them an energy boost. Dog treats or snacks with protein can provide dogs with much needed energy for staying physically active outside during summer.
🦗 This good boy is taking a break from summer activities to enjoy Jiminy's Cricket Crave Sustainable Dog Food
Fill Up a Kiddie Pool
A kiddie pool offers a great place for dogs to cool off after exercising. Consider filling up a kiddie pool in your yard for your dogs. Place it in a shady area, so the sun won’t heat up the water too quickly. If your dogs enjoy the water, keep in mind that swimming is a good form of exercise for them. Look for dog-friendly beaches in your area where your dogs can go for a swim.
Watch for Heat Exhaustion
Running around outside playing fetch or doing other activities can put dogs at risk of heat exhaustion. When you’re outside, especially on hot days, watch for signs of heat exhaustion in your dogs, such as panting excessively or being lethargic. Dogs with this potentially deadly condition might also have a bright reddish tongue or gums and show signs of confusion. If your dogs show any signs of heat exhaustion, move them to a shady spot right away, wet their ears and paws with lukewarm water instead of cold water, and give them small amounts of cool or lukewarm water to drink.
Protect Dogs from Sunburn
When you head outside for exercise with your dogs, keep in mind that they can get sunburn. Dogs with light-colored fur or short coats are more vulnerable to sunburn than dogs with darker fur or longer coats. Ask your vet for recommendations on sunscreen that you can use on your dogs. In general, avoid using sunscreen that contains zinc oxide, since this ingredient can be fatal to dogs if they ingest it.
Stay in Shady Areas
When you’re outside with your dogs on hot days, try to have them stay in the shade as much as possible while they’re exercising. Shady areas can help them stay cooler and protect them from the sun.