Every summer in Florida, temperatures can rise to an unbearable 100 degrees Fahrenheit with the humidity to match. The heat is a burden for any of us, but imagine how much worse it is for our canine companions with their thick, wooly coats! Even though it’s hot, dogs still need to have regular exercise to retain a healthy lifestyle. However in the heat, it is important for all owners to take certain precautions when it comes to exercising in the sun.
When is hot too hot?
We all know the dangers of leaving your dog in a car in the summer heat, but did you know outdoor activities in the sun can sometimes be equally dangerous? Here are some quick signs to look for to tell if it is too hot to walk:
- The 5 Second Rule: Put the back of your hand on the pavement, if you cannot hold it there for 5 seconds it is too hot to walk. If the asphalt is so hot you could probably fry an egg on it, then it can burn your dog’s feet. Also keep in consideration certain dog’s pads, especially puppies are not as adaptable to heat and may not be able to stand even temperatures you can.
- If your dog is panting heavily within a few minutes into the walk, your dog is giving you a big warning sign it is too warm and it’s time to go home.
By looking out for these signs you can prevent a possible summer disaster.
The Dangers of the Summer Sun
Hot summers and the accompanying humidity pose many problems for our canine companions. Dogs cool down naturally by panting to remove moisture from their lungs which pushes the heat out of their bodies. However, if the humidity is too high this process is hindered and they can no longer cool themselves, causing their temperature to skyrocket. Danger increases depending on your dog’s breed as well as those with smooshed faces like bulldogs, pugs, and mastiffs may already have breathing difficulties. If a dog’s temperature gets over 104 degrees Fahrenheit, the results can be fatal.
To keep your dog safe in the summer here are some ways to beat the heat:
- Hose down your dog in the backyard or give them a cool bath, but not an ice bath.
- Take them swimming; just remember to rinse off chlorine or salt
- Stay inside and chill out together in the cool air conditioning
Cooler Exercises for Your Dog
Despite the heat, it is still important to give your dog regular exercise. Check out these alternate exercises or adjustments to your daily walks:
- Go swimming in pools or safe lakes, but be mindful of alligators and water snakes
- Try playing a calmer game of ball inside
- Go for walks in the early morning rather than afternoon and stick to shady, grassy areas
By choosing these activities you and your dog can still have summer fun without the risks that come with the summer sun.