It's the dog days of summer, and nobody wants to be outside in the heat, including your dog. But dogs need daily exercise in order to maintain optimal health. So here are 5 tips to help keep your pooch fit and safe during the summer.
1. Start early.
If your dog's exercise routine includes a walk or run along the sidewalk or pavement, start early in the day, before the surface gets hot enough to burn his feet. Even if he'll be on grass, the summer heat can be dangerous, so getting a workout in before the sun gets too high in the sky is a good idea.
2. Shorter sessions.
Try taking your dog out for shorter "workouts", and increase the number of workouts per day. Depending on his age, breed, and physical condition, you dog may need an hour or more of exercise every day. When it is hot, give him several shorter sessions, with the opportunity to cool down in between.
3. Indoor games.
You can give your dog a workout indoors, if you plan ahead and get creative. Your dog will love playing games, jumping over things, chasing a ball or a laser light, climbing under obstacles, and more. It will take some time and creativity to get started, but you'll both enjoy the time together, and he'll benefit from teh physical challenges you create.
In the hot weather, your dog will need extra water to drink, just as you do. And, like most people, most dogs enjoy playing in water when the temperatures rise. A kiddie pool, a baby bathtub, or a garden hose can create a safe and fun way to get moving even on the hottest days of summer.
5. Hire a dog walker.
If you don't have the time, the interest, or the physical ability to properly exercise your dog, hire a dog walker. A good one will know how to assess your dog's condition and his needs and design an exercise program that's appropriate for him and for the weather conditions.
The bottom line: Your dog relies on you to keep him healthy, and giving him daily, appropriate exercise is part of your responsibility.