How to Exercise Your Dog When It's Too Hot or Cold Outside
The weather can be a real drag on your pup's life. From hot summer days that make the pavement so hot it can burn their little paws to freezing temperatures that make them run back inside to crawl in their favorite luxury dog bed, it puts a real damper on their plans for a long-awaited game of fetch. Your pooch still needs exercise, however, so here are some tips and ideas on how to get them moving.
How Can the Weather Harm My Dog?
That's an excellent question and one that you need to understand in order to keep your dog safe. Let's start with the hot days of summer.
Have you ever tried walking barefoot on hot pavement? It's no easy task if it's even achievable at all. Hot weather can heat up the pavement in a way that nothing else can, and it can burn your dog's paws. It doesn't even have to be a long walk. Short walks can be too much for your pup's paws.
This isn't the only health problem your dog may face. They can experience overheating, which can lead to heat stroke.
The Veterinary Emergency Group reports signs of heat stroke include:
- Difficulty breathing
- Excessive panting
- Obvious signs of mental deterioration
- Vomiting or diarrhea
- Bruising on the skin or gums
If your dog feels like their temperature is too hot, or they are showing signs of heat stroke, it's crucial that you get them to a vet as soon as possible. The sooner they begin getting treatment, the sooner they'll be back to acting like their usual bouncy self.
Cold temperatures can cause problems for your dog, as well. Frostbite is just as serious as burnt paws. So how exactly are you supposed to exercise your pooch when Mother Nature isn't playing nice, but your dog still needs physical activity?
It's important to note that the size of your dog, as well as the breed, plays a big role in what type of temperatures they can handle. For example, a husky may thrive in the cold, but extreme heat can be rough on their thick fur. On the other hand, a Chihuahua adores the heat but may need some warm, fuzzy sweaters to get them through the wintry cold months.
Pick the Perfect Time of Day
Early morning and late evening are the perfect time to take your dog for a walk when the weather isn't too hot. If you can't, then dog booties will protect their delicate little paws. This will require some getting used to, and may require lots of dog treats as bribes, but it's worth the extra training.
You can sometimes gauge how hot the pavement is by checking online for temperatures, as well as charts describing how much heat or cold is too much for your particular breed of dog. Even if you're not sure what the exact breed is, many charts are based on size.
If in doubt, it's better to stay indoors.
Find Activities That Keep Your Dogs Comfortable
During the summer, you can take your dog swimming. It's not only great exercise for them, but it'll fill you with some much-needed laughs, and give you memories that will last a lifetime.
Speaking of swimming, many dogs love playing in the water, so you can always fill up a kiddie pool with cool water, and toss in a few toys. They'll enjoy splashing around in the water, and you can enjoy the warm weather without fear of harming your beloved pooch. Don't forget to strategically place an outdoor dog bed for them to rest in a cool spot.
Another way to exercise your dog is to send them to doggy daycare. This will give them time to socialize with other dogs and play indoor games. Most dogs enjoy hanging out with their furry friends. It's also good for their mental stimulation.
Sometimes it's not possible to take your dog out for some fresh air at all, even if the temperatures are pleasant. This could be due to rain, sleet, snow, or hail. And while your dog may not understand that it's not OK to go out in a Tornado, since Todo did it, you'll need to devise a way to distract them with some dog activities.
One way to do this is to make an indoor obstacle course, according to Poochmate. There are lots of ways you can do this, and you don't even need to head out to PetSmart to do so. Although your pooch would doubtless enjoy a car ride there, that would also be a great way to sneak in a walk if the weather is mild. To make an obstacle course, simply use tape over a door, strategically place bars to jump over, and then get out of the way.
Playing with toys is great, but you also need to make sure you shuffle them. This means you simply put some of their favorite toys away and switch them out with the current stash. It makes them feel like they have new toys, even if the scent may be a little familiar.
If you really want to up the ante, then hide something for your dog to sniff out. It's a great way to mentally stimulate them, and they'll love it when you tell them to go find something.
How can I exercise my dog when it’s too hot outside?
Doggy daycares are one option. You can also create an indoor obstacle course, or play fetch inside.
How do I entertain my dog when it’s too cold outside?
Try giving your dog their favorite toys. Or you can toss it around, so they can play an impromptu game of fetch. You can also use paw pads when you absolutely have to take them out, such as when it's time to go potty.
How do I exercise my dog indoors?
Be creative. Most dogs want to be entertained, and that's usually not that hard to do. For example, a game of hide and seek works like a charm. Make sure you shuffle their toys in and out every few days so that they feel as if they have something new to play with.
To find the perfect accessories to entertain your pup when stuck indoors, contact us to learn more.