Baby, it’s cold outside. Wait, that’s not right. It should be baby…It’s HOT outside right now! Summer is upon us and in many areas, we are seeing crazy high temperatures. While I’m sure you feel miserable even leaving your air conditioning to check the mail, you can’t even imagine how your puppy is feeling. A winter coat in the heat of summer?! Unbearable. You probably think you are helping them by taking them out to use the restroom then rushing them back into the air conditioning.
And you are helping them heat-wise, but you may also notice that your dog is a little more destructive or irritated than normal. That’s because they have a lot of energy that they need to work out! And there’s only so much that your little puppy can work out indoors.
I had a friend ask me about ways she could exercise her dog when it was so hot. We started talking and naming a few and I realized there are probably so many other people with the same concerns she has. So, I am going to go over some awesome ideas I have found that you can get some energy out of your puppy without worrying about them in the hot summer heat.
Before we get started, I want to talk about something very important. Listen, there are many ways to exercise your dog while keeping them cool. But most importantly you want to keep the dog safe. While you can be thinking you’re keeping your dog cool, you need to also watch out for heat exhaustion in dogs.
If it is hot outside, you need to watch out for an excessively panting dog, fatigue and other factors that go into heatstroke. No matter how much fun you are having with your dog, their health needs to come first. But if their health is still in good order, then play on
This one is kind of a given. What is a better way to have fun and keep cool than in a pool?! Depending on your breed, you could have a dog that LOVES water or a puppy that is safely fearful of water. If you have a pool that allows dogs, or a shallow lake, this can be a very fun activity to do with your pet. A lot of dogs naturally know how to swim, and some enjoy getting their exercise this way.
My one stipulation is to ease your dog into a pool setting unless they seem very excited about it in the first place. Always watch your dog in the pool because their treading water abilities may not be what yours are.
If you don’t have access to a large body of water, sometimes a kiddie pool in the backyard can do the same thing! And it’s a little safer for your dog. This is also a great choice if you have young kids who want to play outside. You can fill up the kiddie pool, and let the kids and dogs go wild! They will be cool, get out some energy, and you can sit back and drink some lemonade. Unless of course, you are wanting to join in on the fun!
2. Water Balloon Fights/Squirt guns
An extension of the kiddie pool is to use your kids as inspiration. You can fill up water balloons with water and let your dogs bite them and pop them up, or you can squirt them with a squirt gun as they are running around with the kids.
These are great ways to get kids involved in exercising your dog and makes for a very fun, very wet afternoon. The biggest callout and warning that I can give when it comes to these types of activities is to really know your dog. Some dogs LOVE squirt guns and hoses and the idea of your squirting them makes them jump for joy.
Some dogs would be petrified if you squirted them with a squirt gun, or if a water balloon popped when they bit into it. Perhaps you can ease your dog into these games, or let them watch as you run around with kids and partake in these games. This will let them know that it is not a scary thing you are doing, but a fun thing that makes them feel cool!
Another callout on the water balloons is to make sure you clean up any messes that occur from the spectacular fight. You do not want your puppy eating bits of water balloon pieces and rushing to the emergency room because their belly hurts.
3. Indoor Dog Parks
This one is such a good idea but can be hard to find. (Hint! Entrepreneurs looking for new investments….invest in indoor dog parks!). An air-conditioned dog park is such a good place to take your puppy if one exists near you. Your dog can get exercise no matter what the weather is like.
If it is raining, or freezing, or too hot to even bear, your dog can still run around with friends and come home hopefully exhausted. This is probably one of the safest options provided because no matter what you don’t have to worry about heat with your dog. So long as it is air-conditioned of course! This takes the stress of the elements completely out of the equation and allows dog owners to keep their dogs happy and healthy.
The biggest downfall with this option is pretty much what I stated before. They are not always that easy to find. A lot of the times they don’t exist except for in big cities or very dog oriented areas. BUT! This would be a great business area especially considering how a lot of people are choosing to have dogs over kids now.
When indoor dog parks become a thing, you can thank me later!
4. Shorter Outside Time, Longer Inside Time
Alright, the wording of this stinks! But the point is valid. One very obvious suggestion is to walk your dog outside for a shorter period of time and let them get their energy out while they are inside.
This is not ideal for people who live in small apartments or houses and have big dogs that have a lot of energy. But it is always an option if you are completely at a loss with what to do. Short and sweet, just like this section.
5. Sprinkler Fun
What is summer without sprinklers?! You have seen kids running around like crazing in the sprinklers, but have you ever noticed a dog watching and joining in on the fun. Not only is this a great alternative if you don’t have a pool, but this is something you can do without worrying about your dog drowning. This helps keep your puppy cool without a lot of extra work that needs to go into it.
There are so many options when it comes to sprinklers that you can even play around and see which style your dog likes the best! This is definitely the first option I will be using when I get a dog. (Okay, and when I have kids…but dogs will come first).
Sprinklers also require less clean-up and preparation than a lot of the options listed before. If you have a decent backyard, you can turn on the sprinklers and let your dogs enjoy the fun. And your grass will get watered in the process. You can multitask easily and efficiently.
6. Early Morning/Late Evening Walks
If all else fails and your dogs are more individual exercises and are fearful of water, you can always resort to planning your walks around the heat.
Some people will purposefully take their dogs on long walks in the early mornings or late at night to try and exercise their dogs in the coolest times of the day. The sun is not up, and it is usually about ten or so degrees cooler at dawn and dusk which allows you to walk your dog, hopefully, more comfortably.
If you do decide to walk your dog after or before the sun has come up, I would also recommend getting some kind of reflective harness for them and yourself to prevent any possible injuries. If the sun is starting to come up, it is probably less likely that you will need those, but sometimes it is just better to be safe rather than sorry.
These are just some of the awesome ways that you can exercise your dog during the heat of summer. Remember, the most important thing is your dog’s health. Make sure you watch for the signs of dehydration or heat exhaustion and keep their paws off the ground to prevent their paw pads from burning.
There are so many little ways that puppies can use their energy that can be fun for both you and your dog! All it takes is a little creativity. Dogs are man’s best friend. You always want to be finding new ways to spend time and have fun with your best friend, right?! Right!