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Walks in the Summer

Summers can be really rough for dog owners, especially as year by year the temperatures are rising. It makes it harder and harder to make sure our dogs are sufficiently exercised while keeping them (and ourselves) safe from heat stroke. We have a few tips for walking in the summer that we’d like to share to hopefully help you and your pup enjoy your summer more.

Walk early & late.

We’re going to start with one that most people know, shift the timing of your walks. It is usually best to either walk nice and early before the heat for the day really kicks off, or late in the day after the sun goes down and things start to cool off. Early morning walks are generally a better bet for staying cool. Even after the sun has gone down the pavements can hold heat and still be unpleasant for our dogs to walk on. Plus it’s dark. If you are going to go for a nighttime walk, investing in a headlamp and some safety gear for you and your dog will help make sure that you can see where you are going, and that cars can see you!

Stick  to the shade.

The shade can keep things significantly cooler. It is ideal to go for a walk completely covered in shade if you can. At a minimum we highly recommend shade hopping around the neighborhood, even if it means you are zig zagging back and forth across the street as you go. Be prepared to take breaks in the shade too! Even if you are just walking around the neighborhood make sure to stop for water, and to let your pup enjoy the shade.

Get the gear.

There are a few things you can bring with you to assist in keeping your pup cool. At a minimum you should always make sure you have water and a bowl for your pup, and water for yourself! You can also try out a cooling vest for your pup, and if you are driving to your walk spot, a cooling mat is a great addition to your car. It can even be helpful to grab a cooler for your car with a few ice packs so that your water can be nice and cold before your walk starts, and you can stash your pup's cooling vest in there on the way to the trail, and their mat in there while you are walking. A neck fan for yourself also isn’t the worst thing to invest in. 

Avoid the asphalt.

If you can, try to walk on dirt and grass trails as much as possible. These are much less likely to hold heat than concrete and asphalt, and are also more likely to be shaded. If you have to walk on a paved path, aim for white or gray concrete paths and do your best to avoid the black asphalt. Concrete and asphalt are generally significantly hotter than the air, especially if the sun has been out for a while. A good rule of thumb is that if you cannot handle putting your hand or bare foot to the surface for 15 seconds, then your dog shouldn’t be walking on it. 

Explore new exercise options.

There are some days where you just can’t get up early enough and you can’t find a cool enough trail. On these days it’s good to have some backup exercise options in your back pocket. Going for walks in stores, especially larger stores like Home Depot and Lowes, are great options for the pups who can handle that. If a store isn’t a good option for your dog you can look into renting an indoor dog space, or a pool that your pup can enjoy. (Check out Swimply for dog friendly pool rentals, or visit our friends at Jumping Jack Ranch!) If none of those are a good option for your dog, play some games indoors! Lean on your puzzle toys and mental enrichment training, and have fun just being goofy and playing with your pup. 

Not every day in the summer is going to be the ideal exercise day for our pups, and that’s okay. The most important part is that they are safe and happy! And if you are stumped on how to entertain them, or looking for some fun training to keep their brain occupied, you can still reach out! We love getting to just do fun things with our pup friends. 

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