Maybe if you were sitting in the shade with a cool glass of lemonade. If you happened to be running outdoors, the “feels like” temperature was closer to 104º. And, if you happened to also be pushing a jog stroller with a 45 lb weight (a.k.a your child) while trying to keep up with a very energetic dog, the “feels like” temperature bumped up to 114º.
Even in the middle of the summer, dogs benefit from running. Here are a few tips to keep your dog running healthy and happy as the temperature rise.
- Adjust your schedule to run early in the morning or late at night when it is cooler. Exercise more often for shorter amounts of time.
- Slow your pace and take rest breaks. Implement run/walk intervals that allow time for rest during walk breaks.
- Provide fresh water before, during, and after runs.
- Choose a shaded route with grass for your dog’s paws. Remember that you are wearing shoes and your dog is not!
- Don’t shave your dog. A dog’s coat prevents overheating and sunburn. It may sound miserable to us to run around in a fur coat but that layer of fur keeps the heat out and the sun off sensitive skin.
- Know the signs of heat stroke in dogs.
Even in the summer months, dogs need vigorous exercise each day to remain healthy and happy. Running provides cardiovascular benefits, maintains muscle tone, and assists in weight management. It also helps alleviate anxiety which can be elevated during summer months when normal routines tend to change.
Just as heat affects humans differently, it affects dogs differently. A dog’s tolerance to heat varies based on their size, breed, health and other factors. Always check with your veterinarian regarding your dog’s exercise routines and needs.