How to Keep Your Dog Cool on Summer Walks

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Summer’s the season to get outside and soak up some Vitamin D with your dog. Unfortunately, it’s also the season for heat exhaustion or heat stroke, and dogs can struggle in the heat as much as we do. As we head into warmer days, here are eight easy, breezy tips to keep your pup cool.

1. Walk in the early morning or later evening.

Walking your dog is great. But walking midday when temps are at their highest? No thanks! Plan to take longer walks with your dog in the early morning or later evening as a walk to keep your dog cool. They’ll thank you with lots of kisses later!

2. Consider your walking route.

Instead of steep hills or rough terrain, look for walking routes that have smooth and flat surfaces. In the dead summer heat, flat surfaces allow your dog to exert less energy, ultimately keeping them cooler and safer.

Walking on flat surfaces is a way to keep your pup cooler in summer.
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3. Walk at a shorter, slower pace.

Sometimes, slow and steady really does win the race. Many dogs benefit from walking shorter distances at a slower pace. This includes older dogs and flat-nosed breeds (such as French bulldogs or Boston terriers). You may not break into a sweat, but your dog will be able to stay cooler in hotter weather.

4. Retreat to shade.

On outdoor walks, finding shade can feel like a godsend. To keep your pup cool, look for shady areas where both of you can cool down a couple degrees - maybe it's a certain side of the street in the late afternoon, or your favorite trail with trees.

5. Avoid hot pavement.

Most people don't choose to walk barefoot on hot pavement or sand – at least willingly! If it’s too hot for us to walk on, it’s too hot for dog paws. If you can’t avoid hot surfaces, you can buy bootie socks to keep your dog safe.

Staying on cooler surfaces such as grass keeps your dog's paws from burning.
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6. Stay on the grass.

While sand or pavement absorbs heat, grass tends to stay cool. A dog-friendly park with grassy areas is an easy way to avoid any paw-burning incidents.

7. Use a harness for walking.

Perhaps you’ve been in this situation: You and your dog are out on a walk, but your dog wants to go one way while you want to go another. It may be tempting to tug at the leash, but many dogs, including flatter-nosed breeds, have compressed airways in their lungs, so tugging at the leash can constrict these lungs and force your dog to breathe harder. Combine this problem with heat, and it can make the situation worse. A harness, however, is a safe alternative to gently nudge your dog when you need to.

8. Keep some water & a water bowl with you.

If you decide to go on a much longer walk together (such as a hike), pack their water bowl and some water to keep your four-legged friend hydrated.

Using a harness prevents any neck-related injuries and won't constrict airways.
Photo credit: Unsplash

Have more tips on how to keep pups cool in the heat? Let us know in the comments below! You can also learn about the benefits of walking your dog.

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