6 Practical Tips for Exercising With Your Dog in the Summer

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Ah summer. It’s warmer, sunnier, and lighter–and that probably means you’re outside with your dog more, exercising, playing. Whether you’ve got a Frenchie or a Lab, summer makes all outdoor doggy activities more fun. Remember that just like you get tired and hot, so does your dog.

But when is enough enough? If he keeps retrieving the ball, he’s not tired, right? Wrong! Some dogs will let you know when they’re tired, but others just keep going and going until it’s too late, and scary things like heat stroke can happen. That’s why you as an owner need to be proactive.

Woman running with yellow lab dog on the beach

Here are some practical tips to remember when exercising with your dog this summer:

1. Take your dog out in the morning or evening

Walking, running, and playing with your dog outside in the morning or evening is the best time, as the afternoon is the hottest part of the day. Brachycephalic dogs like Boston Terriers, Pugs, and English Bulldogs, should definitely not be outside during the heat of the day, as they can’t cool themselves as well as other dogs and are very prone to heat stroke.

2. Take breaks

Just like you, dogs get tired. If you’re planning a run, long walk, or hike with your dog, be prepared to take breaks so everyone can catch their breath. The same applies for fetch games: give your dog a breather if they are breathing heavy or stopping to rest on the way back to you.

3. Hydrate

If you’re planning a long day hike or an extra long walk, consider taking a water bottle and a portable dog bowl with you, or a water bottle/bowl combo. Offer water when you stop for a break. Water is super important not only for hydration, but also for body temperature regulation.

4. Consider water sports

Swimming (or wading, if your dog doesn’t like swimming) is a great alternative to running or walking in the heat. Just throw their favorite toy in the water and they get the same exercise they would outside of the water while also staying cool. Summer is also a great time to acclimate your dog to the water if they aren’t used to it.

5. Purchase cooling products

Cooling mats and collars work to cool your dog off if they’ve spend too much time in the hot summer sun. Wrapping a cool, wet towel around your dog’s neck can also help in a pinch: your dog’s main artery starts in their neck, so cooling around that area will help to cool the entire body. Kiddy pools are also great fun for cooling off and splashing around!

6. Listen to your dog

Most importantly, just listen to your dog. Remember: only you know your individual dog’s needs. If they are acting like they don’t want to be outside in the heat, don’t force them. Conversely, if you have a very intense dog that doesn’t know their limits, be the one to set them.

Keeping these tips in mind will ensure you both have safe, happy fun when exercising together this summer. So get outside with your four-legged friend and enjoy the dog days of summer before they’re gone.

Here’s the short version of tips for exercising with your dog this summer for Pinterest. Please share with other dog parents!

Exercising with your dog in the summer

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