Here at Kingsbrook Animal Hospital we think it’s really important to practice warm weather safety when walking and running with your furry friend. With many of us training for the upcoming Paws and Claws 5k in Frederick Maryland, we have been more active with our pets. As the temperature rises, there are a few things to consider as a pet owner…
First of all, AVOID DEHYDRATION! The human body can lose up to 12 oz. of fluid for every 20 minutes of running, so be sure to drink fluids every 20-30 minutes while on a running route. Every dog is different and has different needs when it comes to hydration, but keep in mind that darker coats (i.e. black and brown) absorb more heat and dogs that are overweight are at a higher risk for dehydration. Make sure to carry a water bottle for your dog, or even better, have your furry buddy carry his or her own water in a vest or back pack. The water bottles will keep them cooler and the pack will give them a sense of purpose.
Avoid running outside if the heat is above 98.6 degrees and the humidity is above 70-80%. The human body can quickly overheat if the humidity is so high that it prevents the process of evaporation of sweat from the skin. Dogs don’t sweat like we do; they dissipate heat via panting and through their paws. If your buddy starts to excessively pant, slow down and be sure to provide access to clean water as soon as possible.
It’s a great idea to exercise your pooch early in the morning or at night, but if this isn’t possible, try to run in the shade and avoid direct sunlight and blacktop. Wear light-colored, breathable clothing and at least SPF 15 sunscreen when involved in any outdoor exercise. Heat rises from the ground, especially on surfaces like cement and asphalt. Dogs absorb and release heat through their feet so be conscientious of the terrain you and your dog choose to run.
Of course, if you have any concerns about your pet, don’t hesitate to call to one of the veterinarians at KAH. J