Hot & Bothered

Hiker, Dog, Sacajewea, Trail
Dog, Sleeping, Pet

Hot & Bothered

Cohen, Anna M.
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Summer tips for dog-owners.

Pretty much nothing beats going on an adventure with your four-legged friend, but it’s important to be responsible when taking your pup along. When the weather gets hot, it becomes even more important to properly care for your furry friend. He relies on you for his safety and comfort while adventuring. Here are a few helpful tips for hiking with your dog in hot weather.

Make sure you have enough water. High temperatures make it more important than ever to have ample water on hand or close by for both you and your pup. This might mean packing extra, or, depending on the length of your outing, bringing along a water-filtration system. That way you can get fresh, clean drinking water from any water source you come across. Be sure to bring a bowl of some kind for your dog to drink from. There are many great collapsible dog bowls that are lightweight and pack down.

Take frequent shade breaks. When hiking in hot weather, this will allow his body to cool down a bit and prevent him from getting overheated. Know the terrain ahead of time and make sure there’s plenty of shade along the way. Trekking for hours in the heat with no shade or relief from the blazing sun is a recipe for disaster. Contrary to popular belief, dogs do sweat. However, they only sweat from a limited number of glands located in the pads of their feet. This isn’t enough to cool their whole bodies, and panting can only do so much. It’s up to you to make sure that your dog doesn’t overheat, and frequent stops in the shade will help.

Watch your dog’s body language. Dogs can tell you a lot from their body language. You’re probably aware of what is normal behavior for your dog, so keep an eye out and watch for certain indications of overheating. Some things to watch for include a refusal to move or continue on, apparent weakness, excessive panting, thick saliva, increased drooling, weakness, and a bright red tongue. Watch for these signs, and if you notice any of these in your dog, take a break in the shade and give your pal some water.

Stick to the mornings and evenings. If you have a choice, limit your outdoor activity with your dog to mornings and evenings. This tends to be the coolest part of the day. Mid-afternoon is when temperatures are at their highest, and heavy activity then will increase your dog’s risk of overheating. A nice, cool morning hike is a great way to get in an excursion with your pooch prior to the intense heat of mid-day.

Hike near a swimming hole. Plan ahead and be aware of the terrain. If possible, pick an area that has a lot of swimming holes along the way. Getting into some cold water is one of the best ways to cool down your pup on a hot day. Choose trails that run along rivers, streams, or lakes. A quick plunge will revitalize your dog, and it also gives you an opportunity to filter some fresh drinking water.

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