Your dog needs regular, daily exercise to stay healthy and happy. But if your usual exercise routine includes walks around the neighborhood, that can be a challenge when warm summer temperatures make the pavement uncomfortable for your dog’s paws. Ambient heat and humidity can also be unhealthy for dogs, particularly if you have a smaller or brachycephalic breed.
It is still important to keep your dog active and mentally stimulated despite the heat with activities that keep her cool. Whether you choose to stay indoors or try new hobbies, you and your dog have many options for activities to do together.
Ideas for Exercising Without Walking on Hot Pavement
Even if the temperature feels fine to you, asphalt and concrete can retain heat from the sun. If the ground is too hot for you to touch with your hand or foot for more than 5 seconds, it is too hot for your dog. Instead of abandoning your exercise routine altogether, try these activities instead:
- Plan for Cooler Parts of the Day - Depending on humidity, the temperature can always be warm, but early morning and late evening - when there is less direct sunlight on the pavement - can often be cool enough to walk.
- Play on the Grass - Grass and dirt do not retain heat in the same way as pavement. A game of fetch, tug of war, or even an on or off leash walk at a nearby field can help your dog burn off energy.
- Try Indoor Games - Mental stimulation can be had inside even in small spaces. Play hide and seek by having your dog wait in place, hiding, and then calling her to you. You can also play scent games by hiding treats and encouraging your dog to find them or use a training session to teach a new trick.
- Go For a Swim - A backyard pool or safe body of water can be refreshing for you and your dog. Watch your dog carefully and consider a life jacket. If you do not have access to a pool, you can also fill a plastic kiddie pool to give your dog a place to cool off between games of fetch.
- Invest in Booties or Paw Wax - If you and your dog must walk on hot pavement, dog booties provide an effective protection. You can also apply paw wax before you go out to offer a small barrier between the hot ground and your dog’s feet.
With exercise in any weather, always keep water readily available and monitor your dog’s behavior. If she seems to have difficulty breathing, excessive drooling, discolored gums, lethargy, or her nose is hot and dry, she may have heat exhaustion and you need to get her to a cool area as soon as possible.