How to Exercise Your Dog Outdoors in the Heat

No matter where you live in America, summertime heat can sometimes feel unbearablebut you still want to do all the outdoor activities you love to do with your dog: hikes, trail runs, camping trips, or just tossing a ball.

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But should you take Fido out in the heat? What can you and your dog do in the heat so that you aren't neglecting your best friend all summer long? Here are a few options for activities and some tips on how to exercise your dog out in the summer sun:

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Note: You should know that dogs don't sweat like people do. Most of their sweat glands are located around their paws. If you see wet sweat-footprints on your floor, this is a huge red flag that you're dog is overheating and needs to stay somewhere cool. (Just make sure it's actually from sweat and not the sprinklers outside.) 

Dilating vessels around a dog's face and in their ears also help them cool down—but panting is the main method that dogs use to cool off. Keep any snub nosed dogs, like boxers, lhasa apsos, shih tzus, bulldogs and pugs, inside and away from the heat. They have poor panting mechanisms and overheat very quickly.

Do...

1. Take your dog to the lake, bay or ocean for a swim. Opt for a kayak, boating, fishing or surfing adventure if you want to take your four-legged friends on a trip.

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2. Go on a hike or trail run early in the morning or late in the day.

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3. Take shorter hikes and find shaded trails and campsites; your dog will not require as much exercise when he's hot.

4. Let your dog rest and cool down during extended activity, or if Princess starts to slow down or pant excessively. Heavy panting, confusion, sluggishness and very red gums and tongue are all signs of heat stroke.

5. Make sure you have plenty of water for you and your dog. 

6. Place cool towels or spray water over her to cool her down, especially on her paws. 

7. Get your dog's hair cut shorter in the summer, if you can. (But not too short. They get sun burnt, too.)

8. Use sunscreen on your dog if he has very short hair.

Don't...

1. Hike trails that aren't shaded (and where rattlesnakes may be basking in the hot sun).

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