To kick off my first Dog Day post, I'm going to talk about dog's and the heat. Specifically exercising with them in 26C+ weather.
My runs right now are anywhere from 5km to 15km in length. And we've had some pretty hot days lately. Not Texas hot, but 35C in June? Not normal for this northern climate. So if I want to take my dogs, I have to make the decision the night before. 5:30am seems to be the coolest and most dog friendly time if they are going with me. For me to get moving that early takes planning ahead. I'm also trying to get Romeo conditioned to run longer with me, so he's been going on more runs lately. Mia tops out at 7 or 8km right now, much to her dismay when she stays behind!
|Cooling off in Lake of the Woods|
Yesterday was Saturday and I slept in a bit. It was 29C in town by 10am. Definitely not dog friendly running weather. So instead, Romeo and I went to a nearby trail with lake access in several spots along the trail. It was a few of degrees cooler on the trail and he stopped frequently to take a dip in the lake. We still Canicrossed most of it, but when he started looking tired we only had a couple of kilometers left, so I unclipped him and let him pick his own pace. When he's on the line he's all business and he feels its his job to stay out ahead of me. Once he was loose, he sniffed a bit, lagged behind, ran ahead, lagged behind, ran ahead, stopped to wait for me. Rinse, repeat. When we got to a spot where he could get in the lake, he'd go in up to his belly and wade around for a bit, cooling off. He's not much of a swimmer, but loves to walk along with his mouth open taking in water!
Simply put, to continue with a exercise program with your dog during the summer:
Run early in the morning to avoid the heat
Plan your run so you can let your dog take a dip in a body of water if possible
Let your dog chose his own pace, on a trail is ideal
On longer runs, bring water for your dog in a water bladder pack (bring a collapsible bowl too!)
Avoid hot pavement to protect their paws
Watch for signs of the effects of too much heat
Its important for every dog owner to know the signs of heat stroke in dogs:
Excessive, heavy panting
Rapid, laboured breathing
Excessive salivation (careful here though, a dehydrated dog will have a dry mouth)
Lethargy, weakness, wobbling back and forth, staggering, muscle tremors
Bright red gums, mucus membranes and eyes
Diarrhea and vomiting
Seizures and collapse
Treating heat stroke:
Get the dog into shade or indoors
Use a cool water soaked towel around the dog's head, neck, and paws
Use a fan to cool the dog if possible
Get the dog into cool water (not cold or icy though!)
Give cool water to drink in small amounts
Get the dog to a vet
With planning and consideration, you can still train all summer with your dog!
Any special tips you take into consideration when exercising with your dog?
Does your dog like to swim? Romeo swims only when necessary. Mia likes the water, but hasn't braved letting the ground go out from underneath her feet yet!