You want to exercise your dog but you also know the summer temperature and humidity can be dangerous. How do you keep your pooch cool and yet enjoy the outdoors? Try some of these options!
1. Walk early morning and later in the evening. The morning is the preferred time as the ground has had all night to cool off, therefore cooling the asphalt and cement so it is better on the paws.
2. For longer fur, clip the belly allowing for more ventilation.
3. Wet him down before you hit the road. Take a spray bottle of water to moisten as needed, helping to evaporate the heat. You can use it for his drinking water too.
4. Find outlets where there are water sources like ponds, creeks, and pools. Minimally get a few stops where he can at least get his feet wet to help in cooling. Or make your own canine water park and have some fun playing in the water of your own back yard!
5. Neck coolie wraps are a lightweight, easy to apply, and an underutilized cooling method. Small plastic cooling gels covered with fabric that can be tied around the neck and sit over the carotid artery and jugular vein. As the blood in these vessels passes by the cooling wrap, the temperature of the internal arterial and venous blood is lowered. Keep these in your freezer and apply before you take your dog for a walk or outdoor play time in the summer.
6. Similar to the neck coolie is a body vest of similar design. This will be heavier but for a capable individual this will add additional body cooling on hot days.
7. If exercising outside is just not possible consider the underwater treadmill. It’s like you mall-walking; indoors, climate-controlled, gets the circulation going yet avoiding the heat and humidity. Another advantage for this exercise is that the overweight or older pet can walk easier since they weigh less in the water.
Exercise can be fun for your pooch, and good for your health as well. Take plenty of water for both of you. If it will be a hotter day consider Pedialyte or Gator-aid type products to keep electrolytes in circulation. And by the way, those neck coolies work for you too!
© Integrative Veterinary Education, Inc.