Planning Safe Summer Outings with Your Dog During a Heatwave

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Safe and Enjoyable Summer Outings with Your Dog

As the proud guardian of a pack of six, I know how much joy outdoor adventures can bring to our four-legged friends, especially during Summer.

However, as fun as Summer can be, it can also be dangerous for our dogs. Sadly, 1 in 7 dogs taken to a vet with a heat-related illness, dies from their condition. This is why it’s essential to take extra precautions to ensure your dog’s safety and comfort during the hotter months.

So, here are my top tips for planning safe summer outings with your dog during a heatwave!

Choose the Right Time of Day

Timing is everything when it comes to outdoor activities in extreme heat. Avoid taking your dog out during the hottest parts of the day, typically between 10am and 4pm. 

Instead, opt for early morning or late evening outings when temperatures are cooler. These times of day are not only more comfortable for your dog, but also for you!

two golden retrievers lying in the shade of a vehicle on a hot day

Pick Cool and Shaded Locations

Selecting the right location for your outing can make a significant difference. Look for places with plenty of shade, such as woodland, parks with large trees, or dog-friendly beaches with shaded areas. 

Avoid open fields or areas with limited shade, as these can become unbearably hot for your dog.

Keep Hydration a Priority

Hydration is crucial during a heatwave. Always carry a portable water bottle and bowl. Offer water breaks frequently to ensure your dog stays hydrated. 

You can also pack some ice cubes in a flask to provide refreshing, cool water throughout your outing. Monitoring your dog’s water intake and ensuring they drink enough is vital to prevent dehydration. 

To learn more tips on how to keep your dog hydrated, check out my blog: Hydration tips for active dogs in summer.

James Middleton's pack of dogs sat on pier on hot day

Plan Shorter Outings

During a heatwave, it’s wise to plan shorter walks to reduce your dog’s exposure to extreme heat. Limit outdoor activities to 20-30 minutes and then return to a cool indoor environment. 

If your dog seems comfortable and the weather is not too intense, you can extend the outing slightly, but always keep an eye on their behaviour and comfort level. If they’re panting excessively or seem slower than usual, then it’s best to keep them at home where it’s cool and safe. 

Avoid Hot Surfaces

Hot pavement can be extremely harsh on your dog’s paws. Test the ground temperature with the back of your hand; if it’s too hot for your hand, it’s too hot for your dog’s paws. 

Stick to grass or dirt surfaces and let them paddle in water if you come across any. This will also help them cool down too.

Monitor for Signs of Overheating

Be vigilant for signs of overheating, such as excessive panting, drooling, lethargy, and uncoordinated movements. If you notice any of these symptoms, move your dog to a shaded, cool area immediately. 

Offer them water and slowly pour cool water over their body, focusing on their neck and abdomen. In severe cases, seek veterinary assistance without delay.

golden retriever wet from swimming on hot day

Ending Your Outing on a Cool Note

Summer walks can be a wonderful way to bond with your dog and enjoy the great outdoors. By planning wisely and taking the necessary precautions, you can ensure your dog stays safe and comfortable even during a heatwave. 

Remember, the well-being of your dog is paramount, and with a little extra care, you can both enjoy the summer season to its fullest. 

Stay safe and have fun in the sun!

James x


James' Top Tip

Pack a small spray bottle filled with cool water. During your walk, give your dog frequent sprays of water to help keep them cool and refreshed. If they’re not fond of water and won’t sit still, then make sure to take some tasty treats with you for a helping hand!

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