I was walking my dog Pippa in downtown Petoskey and it was so fun… there were dogs everywhere. It’s been cool the past few days, but more warm weather is on the way. So just to be safe, here’s a few reminders on how to keep your dog healthy and happy on a summer walk.
- Know the day’s forecast and choose your walking time around the sun. If it’s going to be a hot day, get up and get going early. A morning walk is not only cooler, but will make your dog tired for the rest of the day. And you know what they say, a tired dog is a good dog.
- Find the shade. I always try to walk on the shady side of the street. And when we go to the Backlot or other dog friendly venues, scoping out and claiming the shady tables makes it a good day for the dogs too.
- Always take water on your walk. I have a clip on water bottle with a built in dog cup. It makes it really handy when we need a quick drink. So many businesses have dog bowls in front of their stores but I’ve been avoiding them lately. The dog flu is becoming common in some large cities so I’d prefer not to take the chance and risk exposure from a visiting dog with the flu.
- Be really aware of the temperature of the sidewalk and street. Don’t guess, check for yourself. If you put your hand on the pavement and it’s hot, it’s hot on your dog’s paws too. They can easily burn so be careful.
- I have two dogs and both are flat faced snorters. Brachycephalic breeds with pushed-in faces, like Pugs, French Bulldogs, English Bulldogs, and Boston Terriers, are particularly at risk for overheating on hot days. Their unique anatomy, which includes pinched nostrils and a narrow windpipe, makes it difficult for these types of dogs to cool themselves through panting. My rule…. if it’s over 80 degrees, we only walk where we can also swim and cool off frequently. Over 85 degrees, no walk. Just pool time at home.
- Be really aware of what your dog is telling you. If they are lazy and don’t want to walk when it’s warm, listen. If they are panting, listen. It’s natural for animals to find a shady spot and not over exert themselves in warm weather…. so pay attention. Don’t make your dog exercise if they would prefer to chill. They know what they are talking about.