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Hot Weather and Your Dog: Staying Safe and Having Fun!

Hey fur friends and pet parents! As the summer heat cranks up, it's important to remember that our four-legged companions need extra care and attention to stay safe. Walking your dog on scorching hot surfaces can be dangerous to your canine companion’s health if you aren’t careful. Before I share some tips and alternative activities to keep you and your furry friend cool, safe, and happy this summer, lets review some of the dangers associated with hot outdoor surfaces.

Are the Sidewalks Too Hot for Your Pup?

Hot sidewalks and asphalt can become like sizzling griddles, potentially burning your dog's sensitive paw pads. Ouch! Remember, if it's too hot for your hand, it's too hot for their paws. Aim to avoid walks on the pavement when the air temperature rises above 90°F (32°C). In fact, the temperature of the sidewalk can be significantly hotter than the air temperature, especially during peak sunlight hours. Factors such as humidity and the duration of sun exposure can also affect the pavement's temperature.

If your dog's paws are being burned on hot pavement, they may exhibit several signs of discomfort or distress. Here are some common behaviors to watch for:

  • Limping or favoring a paw: Your dog may start limping or showing a reluctance to put weight on a specific paw. They may try to lift the affected paw off the ground or walk gingerly to avoid further pain.
  • Whining or vocalizing: Dogs may vocalize their discomfort through whining, whimpering, or even yelping when their paws are burned on hot pavement. It's their way of expressing pain or distress.
  • Restlessness or discomfort: Dogs in pain may display signs of restlessness, agitation, or overall discomfort. They may try to find shade or cooler areas, or they may continuously move or shift positions to alleviate the burning sensation. They might also start excessively licking or biting at their paws in an attempt to soothe the discomfort.
  • Changes in walking speed or posture: Dogs may slow down their walking pace or adopt an unusual gait when their paws are in pain. They might also hunch or crouch lower to the ground to minimize the contact between their paws and the hot surface.

If you suspect that your dog's paws are being burned, it's important to take immediate action to protect them from further injury. Move your dog to a cool and shaded area, and carefully examine their paws for any signs of burns, blisters, or redness. Contact your veterinarian for guidance on how to treat the burns and manage your dog's pain

 

Fun Alternatives to Walking:

  1. Splash-tastic water play: Create a doggie oasis in your backyard or find a dog-friendly swimming spot nearby. Many pups love splashing around and cooling off in kiddie pools or lakes. Just be sure to supervise and ensure their safety around water.
  1. Indoor playtime extravaganza: Beat the heat by engaging in interactive indoor games like hide-and-seek, treat puzzles, or a game of fetch down the hallway. This keeps your pup mentally stimulated and provides exercise without the heat hazard.
  1. Morning and evening explorations: Plan your walks during cooler parts of the day, like early mornings or late evenings when the temperatures are more bearable. Don't forget to stick to shady paths or grassy areas to keep your pup's paws happy.
  1. Doggie playdates: Organize playdates with fellow dog owners at dog parks or arrange meetups in a shaded backyard. Your pup will enjoy socializing and playing with their furry pals while avoiding the heat-related risks.

Stay Cool Tips for Walks:

If you do decide to take a stroll, here are a few extra tips to keep your pup safe and comfy in the heat:

Hydration:

Carry plenty of fresh water for both you and your dog. Offer frequent water breaks during the walk to keep your pup hydrated to prevent dehydration and overheating.  If you notice signs of dehydration, such as excessive panting, dry gums, lethargy, or loss of appetite, consult your veterinarian for guidance.

Protective Gear:

Consider using dog booties or paw wax to shield your dog's paws from hot surfaces. Who said booties just had to be for the winter time?

Stay in the Shade:

Stick to shaded areas and take breaks under trees to avoid prolonged exposure to the sun. Waterloo Region has many trails in forested areas that provide lots of shade and concrete/asphalt free surfaces for dog walking. Next heat wave be sure to check out:

Huron Natural Area, Kiwanis Park, Laurel Creek Conservation Area, Bechtel Park or my current favourite, Breithaupt Park, for some cooler dog walking experiences.

Short and Sweet:

One of the easiest ways to minimize heat exposure for your dog, is to opt for a shorter walk, and be attentive to any signs of distress or discomfort in your dog while you are out in the heat of the day.

Remember, our furry friends rely on us to keep them safe and happy. Let's make this summer an unforgettable one, filled with a variety of fun activities and lots of tail-wagging adventures!  

 

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