HOW TO KEEP YOUR ADVENTURE DOG COOL IN THE SUMMER HEAT
This blog post is sponsored by Wellness Pet Food. We feed Charlie the Wellness Core Wild Game formula which is a high protein, 100% grain-free, USA-produced formula which gives him the fuel he needs to keep up with our active lifestyle. Charlie also loves the Wellness RawRev treats which have been an essential tool in Charlie’s diabetic alert dog training. At Bearfoot Theory we love our dogs AND we love the summer, but sometimes the two just don’t mix well. Our dog Charlie loves hiking, but the heat can be tough on him. If you’ve ever questioned taking your pup out for a hike on a hot day or even wondered how to keep your dog cool in the summer heat at home you’re not alone.To help answer some of these questions, we turned to a fellow outdoor-loving veterinarian for some advice.From dos and don’ts to warning signs and even a few favorite products, here is your expert guide to on how to keep your dog cool in the summer heat.
1) IF IT’S OVER 85 DEGREES, KEEP YOUR DOG INSIDE
This one hurts, but it’s true. While we love to take our dogs out on adventures with us every chance we get, they simply cannot handle this kind of heat. Veterinarian Dr. Lauren Stoltze, DVM, MS of Franklin Lakes Animal Hospital in New Jersey says the best place for your pooch on hot days is indoors. “I am a big advocate of exercising with your pet, but it’s best to avoid the high heat days entirely”, Stoltze says. Dogs aren’t as good at cooling themselves off as efficiently as humans are, so the myth that if you can stand the heat than your dog can too, can put them at risk of overheating and dehydration.
2) TAKE AN EARLY HIKE
Schedule your hike, walk, or run in the early morning to avoid the blazing sun and take advantage of the cooler air temperatures. With morning hikes, the ground may also still be damp from the morning dew which helps you and your pup stay cool. The same goes for pavement and sand which tend to be hotter during the afternoon.
3) CHOOSE A TRAIL WITH WATER & SHADE
To keep dogs cool in the summer, be strategic and pick a trail where you can hop in a lake or a pond. Stoltze recommends letting your dog go for a swim while you’re hiking to let their core body temperature cool down. We notice Charlie immediately perks up on our hikes as soon as he gets in the water.Post-hike, you can break out an old kiddie pool (or even hose them down!) and fill it up for your pup so they can have a nice cold soak.
4) DO A WATER-BASED ACTIVITY INSTEAD OF HIKING
Like we learned from Stoltze in the first point, hiking and biking with your dog on very hot days can put your dog at risk. But what if you have a dog like Charlie who needs ALOT of stimulation EVERY SINGLE DAY? Maybe it’s time to find a new activity. Have you tried stand-up paddleboarding with your dog? We’ve been getting into that this summer and while it’s not as aerobic for Charlie as running, it still provides mental stimulation.You can also take your dog to a dog-friendly beach and play some fetch in the water if your dog likes to swim.
5) PAY ATTENTION TO YOUR DOG’S APPETITE
It’s not uncommon for a dog’s appetite to decrease in the summer. If you notice that your dog is eating less, than you may need to adjust their diet or activity levels to make sure they aren’t overdoing it. We always bring Wellness Core treats on the trail, and we’ve also been sprinkling the new Wellness Core Bowl Boosters on top of Charlie’s normal meals. The Bowl Boosters add a pop of flavor to his food and keep his meals interesting, so he’s excited to eat, even on hot days.
6) PROTECT YOUR DOG’S PAWS
If you happen to be hiking on a paved surface or even just taking your pooch for a walk, you’ll need to be mindful of the effect that a hot surface warmed by a sizzling sun can have on your dog’s paws. “Paw pad injuries from thermal burns can cause the paw pads to “slough”, or fall off, warranting vet visits, bandages, antibiotics and pain medication,” Stoltze says. “On an 85-degree day, asphalt can heat to 135 degrees, a temperature that can fry an egg in 5 minutes.”So, what’s the best way to prevent this? Stoltze recommends testing it out yourself first. “A good test is to press your barefoot or the back of your hand onto to the ground for 7 seconds – if it’s too hot for your skin, it’s too hot for their paw pads.” If your dog does suffer thermal burns get them to your local veterinarian immediately.