Chances are that Fido is always ready to go once the leash comes into their sight. Some dogs can walk all day long if you would let them. Others almost need to be dragged out of the door. The summer heat holds many dangers, but since dogs do need to exercise, walking must be done. It is also a great time for them to bond with you and enjoy the company of others. But when is the best time to walk your precious dog? Here’s what to consider:
The worst time of day to walk your pup
Any time between 11 am and 3 pm is when the sun is at its strongest. Therefore, this is the hottest part of the day. Would you want to go for a walk when it is hot enough to fry an egg on the sidewalk? Your dog does not know any better and will be happy to be getting outside with you. So, unless it is unavoidable, keep the leash time for earlier or later. It is best to walk your dog either around 7 in the morning or after supper.
Adjusting the walking schedule
Pets should be walked at the same time every day when possible. Dogs have these incredible internal timers that let them (and you) know exactly when it is walk time. During spring, fall, and even in the colder months, we get into a routine with our canine pals. It is something they look forward to, and it causes them some confusion when summer rolls around, and we ignore the leash in their mouth and the pleading look in their eyes.
It can also be difficult for them because they look towards this time to do their outdoor business. If they are used to going out every 4 hours, you cannot just expect them to hold it all day. It takes a bit of work to get them adjusted to something new, but it can be done with a bit of patience.
Keep the walks that are not during the warmest parts of the day. If they are due for a walk at noon, take them out to a shady spot for a quick potty trip. Once they are finished, bring them back in. The same with their next scheduled trip. By late afternoon or early evening, resume their normal routine. They will obviously still need to go out several times per day but keep trips cut noticeably short when the temperature is high.
Dangers of walking dogs when it is too hot
If you are not careful and vigilant, these are the main problems you could have walking your dog in summer’s heat:
- Sunburn – Dogs with thick coats are not really at risk, except on the nose and tummy. Some breeds most likely to get a sunburn are pit bulls, Chinese crested, American Staffordshire Terrier, boxers, beagles, bulldogs, dalmatians, greyhounds, and whippets. Just like humans, dogs can get first, second, or third-degree burns from the sun.
- Sunstroke – Dogs sweat through their paws. This makes them less effective at sweating to lower and regulate their body temperatures and, therefore, more prone to heatstroke. They also have their fur that holds heat in. If you are walking your dog when it is hot, make sure to bring some cold water along with you and a collapsible bowl. Limit your pet’s exposure to the sun.
- Dehydration – Dogs begin to dehydrate when they sweat more than they are taking in. Make sure your dog always has access to fresh water.
- Burnt paws – We often go over various surfaces when walking our dogs, and some of them get extremely hot. Check the surface with your hand to prevent burnt paws. Alternatively, instead of walking on pavement or sand, head for the grass instead.
How long should dogs exercise?
The cooler portions of the day are the best time to walk your dog in summer. Your dog can play around as long as you both feel comfortable with it. When it is extremely hot, increments of 10 or 15 minutes are plenty. Just keep in mind that walks later in the day should be longer to make up for what they missed earlier.
When it comes down to it, you know your dog better than anyone and are better able to judge what they can handle. Work out the schedule that works best for you and your pet. Just keep their health and safety at the front of your mind, and you should not have any problems.