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As summer approaches, let us touch up on the do’s and don’ts of dog parenting in the heat!

Coronavirus may have seemingly slowed down time, but summer’s glaring rays have all but taken over spring’s debut this year. It’s only April and we’re already seeing temperatures in the 70s causing some of us to start fumbling around with the AC. In the days of #STAYHOME, stepping out for some fresh air can feel like the only way of escape. For

those of you with rambunctious canines as housemates (maybe even little humans too), going outside is quite literally the only way to stay sane in these unprecedented days of social isolation.

Dogs and humans alike benefit from soaking up vitamin D, and in fact, numerous sources cite that just 30 minutes of physical activity will leave both you and your furry friend happier and healthier. However, let’s not forget that, much like us humans, the sun, heat, and (especially in the DC metro area) humidity can pose serious threats to the well-being of our pups. Heat sensitivity is a topic not discussed often, because dogs love walks, right? I think every pet owner would agree that most dogs perk up at the “W” word and the mesmerizing sound of the leash being brought out. That being said, this is quite literally a life or death topic and it’s important we, at the very least, understand the basics. So…

DO switch up your schedule!

This is possibly the easiest way to avoid running into issues because putting limits on the when, what, and for how long can do wonders.

When? Try out an early morning jog or wait until after dinner to leash up. Doing so will likely avoid the problem altogether because either the sun has just come up or it’s on its way to bed.

What? If the whole point of the exercise (see what I did there? J) is to catch some rays with your pooch, limit the type and intensity of your dog’s activity. It’s all about compromise and balance.

For how long? As stated above, 30 minutes is the minimum daily recommendation. Key word being: recommendation. Don’t want to cut back the intensity? Cut back the duration of your time spent in the sun. Remember the focus is your dog; they’ll let you know when enough is enough. Which brings me to my next point…

DON’T downplay the signs!

We’ve all been at the point where something was off with our dog and we wished in that moment they could just TELL us where to kiss the booboo. In their own canine fashion, they do! There are some telltale signs that your dog needs a break, such as: excessive panting and/or drooling, glazed over eyes, dizziness, and responding slowly or not at all to commands (for my well-trained doggos out there!). Any and all of these symptoms are your dog’s way of letting you know something’s gotta give…. and soon!

DO unleash your creativity!

Let’s be honest, sometimes we don’t want to wake up at 5 am on Saturday just to walk the dog. It happens. There are some fun alternatives to simply switching up your routine; you just have to be creative! I’ll even give you a few ideas to start, because that’s what friends do, right? You can find these (and much more on how to keep your dog cool) by checking out this blog, which was posted following an informative discussion at the National Capital Area Professional Pet Sitters Network meeting.

DON’T overthink it!

Anywhere you look, all advice points to the same conclusion – if you’re hot, they’re hot. I can’t emphasize this enough! You know the days when you walk outside and, immediately, your body is drenched in sweat? This is a good day to try out that creativity I talked about in the last point. It’s very simple folks. But common sense isn’t always common, and that’s why we’re here to help out!

DO further breed-specific research!

As it stands for most things, especially pet related, heat sensitivity is not one size fits all. Factors such as breed, age, and overall health play a vital role in how much of an impact the heat will have on your pooch. Use some of this extended free time to dig into additional research about how your dog may (or may not) be at even greater risk concerning the hazards of heat exposure. This is serious and can become dire, if you’re uninformed or uneducated. Sometimes a few minutes poring through Google (friendly reminder to use reliable sources!) can make all the difference.

This is a simple list of do’s and don’ts; when you do that research I suggested, things can become overwhelming. Remember to KISS – Keep It Simple Silly – and go enjoy the sunshine!

Disclaimer: The advice found in this blog is purely informational. ALWAYS consult your vet when it comes to your pet’s overall health and well being.


Written and contributed by: Keesha Lockette, Midday Walker & Vacation Pet Sitter

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