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Great Summer Activities for your Pup!
In the summer heat, it's dangerous for dogs to run around too much. However, it's still super important that your dog gets enough physical exercise, even on hot days. Dogs that aren't active are at risk of getting bored, lethargic and even a bit blue. So how can your dog keep it cool whilst burning some energy at the same time? Dog owners and dog sitters: here are some fun summer activities for you and your pooch!
Early mornings, late evenings
The early mornings and evenings are quite a bit cooler than during the day, so make sure your dog gets physical activity in the early or late hours. Keep things calm during the day: let your dog relax and don't encourage them to get too excited. Make sure your doggo has access to a few comfortable, cool spots in and around the house.
Stay in the shade
It sounds obvious, but it is SO important: make sure your dog has plenty of shady spots, preferably with lots of green around. Trees and plants not only provide shade, they also lower the ambient temperature slightly. Also, for your dog's vulnerable paws, it's much safer to walk on a natural surface like cool grass or mulch instead of hot asphalt. Your dog's paws can get seriously burnt, so test out the ground with your own skin: if you can't handle the heat, then it's too hot for your dog.
Do you want to visit the beach? Beware: although there is water for your four-legged friend to cool off in, there is hardly any shade and the sand gets super hot. To be safe, visit the beach in the mornings or evenings and always bring drinking water and a beach umbrella or pop-up tent to create some shade.
Physical activity is great for your dog, but when the weather is hot this is really not recommended. Dogs can't expel heat easily and over-heating is a very serious danger. Fortunately, your dog can also be challenged by mental games. These can really tire and satisfy your otherwise bored pooch and you can also do this quietly in the shade or inside in the air conditioning. There are many dog puzzles that you can purchase, but you can also create your own games. For example:
- Teach your dog words: Did you know you can teach your dog some words? Simply put a few items on the floor in front of you (such as a ball and a stick and a rope) and say 'get ball'. Does your dog take the ball? Praise them excessively! Does your dog get the stick? Just say 'nooo', and try again. Practice until your dog can grab the right item - but of course, try something else if your dog doesn't take to this game.
- Sniffing games: test your dog's nose by hiding some treats around the house. Let your dog sniff and seek them out: start out easy at first and then make it more and more difficult for a real challenge.
Cup game: put three cups upside down on a smooth surface and hide a treat under one of them. See if your dog can snuffle out the cup with the treat.
Games with water
Games involving splashing water are great for hot summer days! Your dog can more effectively dissipate their body heat when their fur is wet. Be careful playing in the sun though: dogs (especially short-haired) can get sunburnt, and water can increase the chance of burning. So avoid playing these games in the middle of the day and always stay in the shade. Some fun water games include:
- Splashing around in the water at a local dog beach
- If you have a pool - swimming together or throwing a ball around in the water (though never leave a dog to swim unsupervised in water - watch them as you would a child under 12)
- Playing with the garden hose or a water pistol if your dog enjoys this (though do be responsible and don't throw lots of water around if you are experiencing water restrictions)
For your dog's safety whilst swimming, consider using a doggy life jacket.
Warning: keep an eye on overheating signs such as: exhaustion, no appetite, drooling, vomiting, no appetite, loss of consciousness. Do you see one of these signs? Cool your dog directly in the shade with water, a cool mat or wet cloth and call the vet immediately.
Enjoy your summer!