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Tips to Keep Your Dog Healthy & Fit When It's Too Hot Outside
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By Anya Ellis, Berkeley Correspondent
Published 9 months ago on
July 24, 2023

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Don’t let triple-digit temperatures stop your four-legged family members from getting their daily exercise.

While the torrid weather may prevent your pups from embarking on their usual walk, this is also a chance to try out other fun options.

An obvious solution to the sweltering heat would be to move exercise indoors. This can include a variety of mentally and physically stimulating games and activities for your furry friends. A few examples of this are puzzle games, scent games, and tug-a-war. Puzzle games can be easily purchased and provide many benefits for dogs of all ages, including reducing anxiety.

Any beloved toy can be used in tug-a-war, which offers pets a much-needed outlet for their energy, promoting impulse control and increasing confidence. Scent games are an effortless way to stimulate your dog by simply hiding treats for them to find. Valley Animal Center’s animal care operations supervisor, Maritza Lopez, suggests making frozen dog treats with no sodium chicken broth.

Focus on Training

Another option would be taking time indoors to focus on training. You can work on reinforcing positive behaviors in your pets. If not that, you can always teach them how to perform a new trick like roll over or play dead. These are mentally stimulating activities that will help use up excess energy and improve their behavior.

And, if your dog is adamant about going on a walk, a good alternative is taking them to a pet-friendly store. Massive stores, such as Home Depot and Lowe’s, are great places to allow your dog to stretch their legs while staying out of the heat. In addition, this provides your pup with new sights and smells to explore. But remember: Your dog must be leased and well-behaved. Individual store policies may vary, so it’s best to check before bringing your dog along.

Maybe your companion enjoys water, and you can incorporate it into their exercise. Dog pools are relatively cheap and offer a safe environment for dogs to wade. You can also have them run through sprinklers or play with a hose, allowing them to remain outside while being protected from the heat.

When Outside, Protect Your Pets

Going outside is still possible. However, you should take precautions to ensure your pets are safe.

“Keep the outings short or provide items such as cooling mats or cooling vest and making sure their paws are protected should they have to take a walk,” Lopez says.” You should stick to going out during the coolest parts of the day, usually first thing in the morning. If the sun is out during this time, try to stay in shaded areas and avoid direct sunlight. Also, make sure to keep your dog hydrated by bringing a portable bowl and water to fill it.

“It is important for animals to stay cool due to the health issues… that can potentially be fatal to someone’s pet. Unlike humans, dogs do not sweat to keep their bodies cool. They attempt to keep their body temperature through their mouth by panting and a small amount through their paws. However, it does not do much if the pet is under consistent heat.”

On a sweltering day, a run through the sprinklers allows a dog to exercise while keeping cool. (Shutterstock)

Owners must be aware of health risks posed to their pets and be able to recognize them. The signs of heat stroke include heavy breathing, excessive dribbling, collapsing, shaking, weakness, and vomiting or diarrhea.

If your pet begins to show signs of heat stroke, make your way to an emergency pet hospital. You should let them drink small amounts of water and poor room-temperature water over their bodies, as cold water could cause shock.

 

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Anya Ellis,
Reporter/Researcher
Anya Ellis began working for GV Wire in July 2023. The daughter of journalists, Anya is a Fresno native and Buchanan High School graduate. She is currently at the University of California, Berkeley, majoring in film and media studies and minoring in creative writing. She plans to pursue her masters in screenwriting after graduating. You can contact Anya at anya.ellis@gvwire.com.

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