Hitting the trails with your dog can be a fun and relaxing summer activity, and there’s nothing like a good hike to tire out even the most rambunctious pooch. However, a fun nature walk can turn dangerous quickly, especially as summer temperatures soar. Here are some ways to keep your canine companion safe and happy.
Your dog can’t decide when to take a drink, so make sure to offer water frequently. Dehydration can be life-threatening and even fairly mild dehydration increases the risk of heat stroke.
Take Advantage of Opportunities To Cool Down
Look for shady spots on the trail to stop and rest a bit. Streams, shallow pools and even large puddles can be a great place to take a break and let your dog splash around a bit.
Try to avoid hiking during the hottest parts of the day, especially in areas with little shade. Start early in the morning or head out later in the evening.
Keep Your Dog’s Paws Cool
Applying cool water to your dog’s paw pads has a surprisingly strong effect on many dogs. Do not apply ice or extremely cold water to the paws.
Pay Attention To Your Pup’s Panting
Panting is normal, but keep an eye out to make sure it doesn’t get too heavy. Vigorous panting may be a sign that your dog needs a longer break to cool down and relax.
Watch for Signs of Distress
Know the signs of heat stroke. Flushed and red skin inside the ears is one of them, and some dogs may have a dry tongue and tacky gums.
Know How To Handle Heat Stroke
If your dog does start showing signs of heat stroke or serious dehydration, provide a restricted amount of water as too much can be dangerous. Keep your dog in the shade and use cool water on the legs and body to lower the body temperature. Never use ice or cold water on an overheated dog. Contact your veterinarian as soon as possible.
Be Extra Careful With High-Risk Dogs
Some dogs are particularly susceptible to heat-related issues. This includes dogs with double coats, senior dogs, dark-colored dogs and those with brachycephalic skulls, such as pugs and English bulldogs. Overweight dogs and dogs with underlying health issues, such as heart and lung disease, are also at increased risk.
Get Out and Explore
Keeping your four-legged friend safe in the great outdoors is important, but so is having fun. Check out this adorable shepherd mix who loves hiking when he isn’t too busy mugging for the camera.
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