This summer is shaping up to be one of the hottest summers on record across the globe. Record breaking temperatures are being shattered in the United States, Canada and Europe. According to one news outlet, In May 2018, every state in the United States experienced above-average temperatures. Eight American states set records and heatwaves are now causing more deaths in U.S. cities than all other disasters combined.
It’s crazy hot and our dogs are feeling the effect too.
Many of the areas that are experiencing spikes in temperatures aren’t use to the extreme heat and their bodies are having trouble adjusting. The same is happening with pets. I know in our area the humidity has been brutal and more days than not you walk outside and it’s hard to breathe.
I was talking to my veterinarian friend the other day and she said that this summer she has seen more heat related illnesses than she’s seen in her entire career.
“It’s horrible. People just keep walking their dogs and taking them everywhere despite the heat. ”
I’ve received a few phone calls from friends who were concerned that their dog was overheating and even one from a friend who took their dog to the beach and the dog got blisters on the bottom of his paws from walking on the hot sand.
Guys! It’s o.k. to not walk your dog or take them somewhere every single day, especially when it’s this hot.
I get it, I really do.
At Sherman’s age, keeping him moving is always on my mind.
With Leroy’s rehab, exercise is key to getting his mobility back.
Leroy knows when it’s his walk time and he will whine and pester me until he goes for a walk and more often than not this summer I’m left with telling him, “Buddy, we can’t go for a walk today. It’s just too darn hot.”
Sometimes I feel so bad that I’ll even ask my husband, “Is it too hot to walk the dogs?”
“Yes, Jen. It’s too hot.” is his response.
If I’m questioning it, it’s too hot.
If you’re questioning it, it’s too hot.
So what are we suppose to do?
How are we suppose to exercise our dogs this summer without taking them for a walk?
First, let’s keep in mind that while walking is the preferred exercise for most dog owners, it’s not the only one way to exercise your dog. Most dogs like to go for walks because they get to spend time with you, use their senses and burn off energy, but with this extreme summer heat that many of us are experiencing we need to be responsible and find other ways to keep our dogs happy and healthy until cooler weather arrives.
8 Ways To Exercise Your Dogs Without Taking Them For A Walk
Puzzle Toys. Puzzle toys are a great way to stimulate your dog’s brain and there are tons of them out there to fit your dog’s needs. Some can be used while laying down and others can be used to keep your dog moving. You can even make your own Dog Whack-a-Mole puzzle game with a cardboard box!
Obstacle Course. You can set up a small obstacle course in your house using your furniture and different types of articles found around your house. This is a great way to mentally stimulate your dog and keep them moving.
Find It. Place low-calorie treats like Cheerios or small pieces of apple around your house and have your dog find them. You can even use your dog’s favorite toy if leaving food around your house isn’t ideal. This is a great work out for their nose!
Keep Training. You can never train your dog enough, right? Pick a skill that your dog hasn’t mastered yet and get to it! This is a great way to bond more with your dog and keep their brain active.
Massage. It’s not considered an exercise but the benefits of a dog massage are endless. It increases oxygenation of the blood, relieves pain, improves flexibility, improves the immune system, reduces discomfort from arthritis and eases muscle tension and anxiety.
Tug and Fetch. Have a long hallway? Try to see how far you can get down it and who is stronger. Winner gets a treat!
Dunk it. This might be a game for a garage or a cool, shady spot in your yard, but you could easily fill up a bucket and have your dog bob for ice cubes or frozen treats. Set up different buckets to keep it interesting!
Use a treadmill. If you have a treadmill in your home you could try to teach your dog how to safely walk on it to get some cardio in. You’ll need to start off on a very slow speed and probably use some high-value treats to get them comfortable with it.
You can do a few of these exercises a day or for the over eager dog, combine them all into one day and you’re going to have one tired and completely exercised pup!
We understand that some dogs have to walk in order to relieve themselves so it’s recommended that in these cases the dog be walked at the coolest time of the day which is usually dawn and dusk. Avoid walking in the afternoon and try to walk in the shade as much as possible.
Remember, dogs aren’t going to tell you that they don’t want to walk because it’s too hot, they are going to walk because you asked them to.