When it comes to summer walks, we have to adjust our walking routine. Sometimes it can be difficult “to explain” to your dog… most of the year, I walk my dogs around 4–5 pm. But during the summer when it’s too hot, I walk them early morning or late evening.
Intense exercise in high temperatures and direct sun can be very dangerous for our dogs!
The temperatures of up to 19°C (68°F) are save for you and your dog to go for a nice walk during the day. However, you have to be careful when the temperature rises above this. Even at temperatures as low as 20°C (70°F), some dogs are at risk of overheating. Especially older dogs, dogs with short noses (brachycephalic breeds – Pug, Bulldog…), and puppies.
Overheating happens when a dog can no longer self-regulate its temperature. Dogs don’t sweat through their skin as we do to cool off.
They sweat through their paw pads. However, it’s by panting that dog circulates the necessary air through its body to cool him down. That’s why dogs with short faces (brachycephalic) don’t effectively cool by panting, can’t tolerate high temperatures, and are prone to overheating.
Early signs your dog is overheated on your summer walk:
Excessive drooling – a secondary cooling technique
Walking slower, and trying to lie down
Seeking out shade
Overheating can lead to heatstroke:
Bright red tongue and gums
Dry mucous membrane, especially the gums
Thick sticky saliva
Dizziness or disorientation
Lying down and unwilling, or unable to get up
Collapse and/or loss of consciousness
Increased rectal temperature: over 40°C (104°F) requires action over 40.5°C (105°F) is an emergency!
Scary, isn’t it?
This is why it is so important to time your daily walks to avoid overheating.
Walking your dog before 9 am, and even earlier is really enjoyable. Early morning walks are one of my many favourite things to do in the summer. It’s much easier to get up early morning and stay up late, isn’t it?
In the evening, I take my dogs for a walk after 8 pm, and sometimes even later. But most of the days it’s safe after 6 pm. I do it that late because I like to go for a run, then have my dinner, and then we all go for a nice walk.
When I plan for an early morning or evening walk, I always take a water bottle with me so we all keep hydrated.
What time do you walk your dog during the summer?