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It’s 8:33 PM and it it’s still about a squillion degrees at Casa de Kolchak.
We are in the throes of a heat wave. It it’s hottest today, it was over 100 degrees. Now, as the sun starts sinking behind the mountains, it’s still 85 degrees. It’s hot. I’m hot. The dogs are hot. The apartment is hot, but nothing is as hot as it has been outside. You guys, it’s too hot to go out there. I just want to hide in the moderate coolness of the house and wait for the heat to subside.
Too bad that, even when it’s hot out, bathroom breaks still have to happen.
Living in an apartment, you don’t have the option to let the dog run out into the yard for a quick potty break. Walks are a necessity and when your dog has got to go, they’ve got to go. You can’t wait until the sun goes down for a bathroom break! The key is to know how to make walking dogs safe on a hot day and we have a few ideas that can help.
Choose the time carefully – If you can, save your major walks for the coolest parts of the day – early morning and late evening, when the sun is low in the sky. Avoid walking during the hottest part of the day. If you must go out during peak sunshine hours, use your common sense and show some caution; make the walk short and take steps to protect your dog.
Location, location, location – Where you chose to walk is important! Whenever possible, we choose grassy locations. Grass doesn’t hold the heat like pavement does making it much safer. Seek out the shade and walk on the shady side of the street. If you live near a body of water, like a river, a lake or an ocean, there is often a cooling breeze to take the edge off the heat.
Protect those paws – Contrary to popular belief, dogs do sweat – through the pads of their feet. Wacky right? Now imagine that those paws are walking on hot cement. They can’t do their job very well. On a hot day, the air might only be in the 80s, but the pavement can be over 140 degrees. Holy woof. Ground that hot can burn your dog’s pad quickly leaving them painful and difficult to heal. Always check the pavement temperature my pressing the back of your hand firmly on the pavement in the full sun for 7 – 10 seconds. (The one-mississippi kind). If it’s too hot for you to put your hand on the cement, it’s too hot for your dog to walk on it. Protect your dog’s paws. Here at Casa de Kolchak, we use Musher’s Secret, a breathable wax that forms a thin protective layer on your dog’s pad, but in hotter places, you might need special boots made for dogs to keep them protected.
Stay hydrated – One of the best things you can do to make sure your dog stays cool is to keep them hydrated with fresh, cold water. We always have a water bottle with us, even on short walks. Frequent drinks will help your dogs keep cool and in an emergency, if your dog gets overheated, you can rub the cool water onto their legs and stomach to relieve some heat.
Get wet ‘n’ wild – One of the easiest ways to cool down a warm dog is to soak them to the skin with cool (but not cold) water. I will often wet my dogs down before we go for a walk. The water soaks into their fur and slowly evaporates keeping them cool longer. You can even get products designed to help them stay wet longer – You can get bandanas, harnesses and body wraps designed to be soaked in water to keep your dog chilled.
Teach a Potty Command – During the hottest part of the day, you want to get out and get back in quickly! You can teach your do that “go means go” by heading over to Smart Dog University, where trainer Laurie Luck will tell you everything you need to know.
You can’t always control when your dog has got to go, but with a bit of caution and common sense you can make sure your dog is protected from the heat.
Do you ever have to take your dog out when it’s really hot? What do you do to make those walks safe and comfortable?