During the global pandemic, many people adopted dogs to keep them company while living in isolation and lockdown. More people began working from home, which means more people had time to take on the responsibilities of pet ownership, and shelters began to empty.
While many “pandemic puppies” are being returned now that the world is opening back up, there are a lot of dog owners still who are keeping their furry friends for the long haul.
Part of owning a dog is making sure they’re healthy, well-fed, and loved. Some of the responsibilities include brushing their fur, giving them baths, taking them to the vet, and providing them plenty of walks and exercise.
Many people commit to taking their dogs for a walk no matter the weather, believing that they’re doing their companion a favor. However, walking dogs in extreme weather could be dangerous, and even lethal, to them.
This year, the US and other areas of the world experienced severe heat waves, with many areas breaking all-time record highs. Despite the extreme heat some areas faced, many people continued to walk their dogs outside on the scolding hot cement. While some dog owners may be downright negligent, others may not know that it’s too hot for their pups.
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So, how do you tell if it’s too hot to walk a dog?
According to 25-year-old Sian Coffey, “If you cannot hold the back of your hand on the floor for five seconds, it’s too hot.”
The UK native noticed people in her area walking dogs during the heatwave and got on TikTok to share the tip with those who may not be aware that it’s too hot for their dogs.
In the video, which seems to be a doorbell camera, you can see a man strolling outside with his dog along the pavement. The poor thing darts to the only shaded patch as quickly as it can, demonstrating how uncomfortable it is in the weather. Sian said, “Watch the dog run for the shade, as the floor was boiling. If you cannot hold the back of your hand on the floor for five seconds, it’s too hot.”
It wasn’t long before her video went viral, with many people agreeing with her and showing their support for her message.
One person commented, “A dog won’t die from not being walked for a day, it will die from being walked in this heat.”
The message is especially important since the the national meteorological service for the UK just issued its first-ever Amber Extreme Heat Warning.
The Scientific and Technical Lead at PHE, Dr Owen Landeg, said in a press release, “Everybody can be affected by high temperatures and most people are aware of good health advice for coping with hot weather. However, it’s important to keep checking on those who are most vulnerable…”
“As we experience the first hot weather episode of the year, it’s important for everyone to remember to adapt their behaviours… Remember to look out for signs of heat exhaustion and follow our simple health advice to beat the heat,” he continued.
While his advice was namely to people, it applies to pets as well. It’s the job of pet owners to ensure their animals aren’t facing heat exhaustion or scolding cement temperatures.
If you’re in an area experiencing severe heat and are wondering what to do for your dog, ensure they have plenty of water and a cool place indoors first and foremost.
You can try taking them for walks in the early morning or late night, depending on if the temperatures are acceptable at those hours. For exercise, try playing indoors with balls or other toys, and for potty breaks, you could get a portable grass pad.
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