We've talked before about the challenges of keeping dogs active in the summer months. Especially when temperatures can be extreme and uncomfortable for our furry friends.
We've also discussed time management as a useful tool for walking the summertime. But as well as changing your work schedule, there are other things you can do too
In fact, there are heaps of activities and tools to help keep dogs busy and happy while coping with the heat.
Choosing a route
Planning a summer walk around plenty of water and shade is a good strategy for both morning and evening.
Choose a body of water that's clean and refreshing for both you and the dogs. Being able to hop in a lake or the ocean to cool down is refreshing for anyone spending time outdoors in the hotter months. And allowing dogs to go for a swim is an excellent way to exercise them and keep their core body temperature down.
If there are trees around for resting under later, that's even better. Remember that even dogs can be sensitive to the sun. Exposed areas like the nose can get sunburned quickly. And some types of dog are particularly vulnerable to the suns UVB and UVA rays. So protect them by using the available cover on your walks.
Long hikes or cycling with dogs in the warmer weather can put them at risk of heat exhaustion and dehydration.
But don't worry, if you're responsible for high energy pets, there are alternative options.
You can get pretty creative too, depending on how many dogs you are responsible for at any one time.
Things like stand up paddleboarding are fun to do with solo canines. Dogs often love to stand on boards and will hop in for a swim when they feel like it. It's a great way to get that physical exercise plus, it's great mental stimulation too.
If you are going to the water, take toys that are designed to float. This will encourage a pup or pups to stay in the water rather than running in the heat.
We don't mean to be repetitive, but the truth is that being in and around water is something most dogs will love. But do check with the owner before you head out and make sure that the dog can swim and has been around water before.
Hydration on the go
Don't forget to take enough water for both you and the dog on any walk. And this tip is not just for the summer months. It's essential to make sure the dogs you care for always have access to drinking water.
When you return home, make sure you leave plenty of water out for the dog before you leave.
Like humans, dogs don't always drink enough water. But to stay healthy, regulate body temperature and aid with digestion, they need to drink frequently. So it's up to you to offer water as often as you can. Ideally, even before a dog starts to look thirsty.
And it's not just the heat that makes canines extra dehydrated, high stress or being distracted adds to their thirst.
Encouraging healthy water consumption will also help prevent chronic illness and infections.
Bring a towel
A good dog towel in the boot of the care is so handy. They’re great for de-sanding, de-mudding and, of course, drying.
But they're also helpful in the summer. A cooling, damp towel wrapped around your dog or draped over the tummy and groin area will help cool down an overheated pooch.
Try a microfiber variety specially designed for dogs. They tend to be super absorbent lightweight, and quick-drying. Which makes them really great for cooling any pooch on a hot day.
Post walk cool down
If you've still got a hot pup when you get back from your walk, chuck on the sprinkler.
Alternately, plan the walks via gardens and fields at times you know they're about to get a good soaking. But don't let pooches run havoc in these spaces. You may end up getting you and them into trouble with the rangers. But it's a fun way for them to cool down.
Also, be aware that some dogs can be entirely obsessed with hoses and sprinklers. And these dogs will never tire of water play. So, check with the pup's owner before you let them play with the hose just in case there are behavioural issues.
For instance, some dogs can become so obsessed that they refuse to eat or drink. Instead, continually waiting by the garden tap.
Be conscious that some people don't like their dogs getting wet. It may simply be because some pups have a coat that’s difficult to dry but check with the owner before letting a pup play to avoid any conflict. For instance, wooly or long coated breeds tend to hold the water in making them stay damp for along time.
There are lots of gadgets out there like cooling collars, and car seats that keep the car cooler and some are great. Still, the best way to keep your dog happy and healthy is to be wary of walking in hot weather altogether.
But that's not particularly realistic in places like Australia where temps can remain high throughout the morning and evening. Instead, be knowledgeable about the best dog-friendly exercise spaces in your area.
And be a responsible carer by remembering the basics like optimal hydration and core body temperature.