Just like people, pets need to get exercise to stay healthy. Exercise helps to keep muscles and bones strong, improve coordination and balance, maintain a healthy weight, and promote mental well-being. However, it’s crucial to keep in mind that the summer heat can be dangerous for both people and pets. Here are some tips to help you and your pet stay safe while getting active this summer:
1. Make sure your pet is healthy enough for exercise – check with your veterinarian first
Make sure that your pet is healthy enough for exercise before starting any new activity. Pets with underlying health conditions may not be able to tolerate the same level of activity as healthy pets, and could even suffer serious complications. Always check with your veterinarian before starting any new exercise program for your pet. They can help you create a safe and effective plan that meets your pet’s individual needs. With a little planning, you can help your pet enjoy a happy and healthy lifestyle.
You’ll want to make sure that their vaccinations are current, as well as have them on a parasite prevention plan, so that fleas, ticks and heartworm don’t have a chance to
2. Exercise early in the morning or evening when it’s cooler
Avoid exercising in the mid-day sun. The hottest part of the day is between 10 am and 3 pm, so try to walk or run with your dog early in the morning or later in the evening when it’s cooler. If you must exercise during the day, make sure to take frequent breaks in the shade and provide your pet with plenty of water to prevent dehydration.
Also, don’t forget about the impact of humidity. Even if the temperature isn’t that high, the humidity can make it feel much hotter. If it’s too hot and humid for you to be comfortable, it’s probably too hot for your pet as well.
For dogs that are brachycephalic, meaning they have short noses, it’s especially important to avoid exercise in the heat. These dogs can’t pant as effectively as other dogs to cool themselves down and are at a higher risk for heat stroke. These breeds include :
- Shih Tzus
- Boston Terriers
Ask us if your dog may be prone to heat stroke.
3. Choose cooler surfaces
Hot pavement can burn your pet’s paw pads, so avoid walking on asphalt or concrete during the hottest part of the day. Instead, walk on grass or dirt paths where the temperature will be cooler. If you must walk on pavement, try to do so in the morning or evening when the temperature is cooler. Before venturing out, place your hand on the pavement for a few seconds to test the temperature. If it’s too hot to keep your hand on, it’s too hot for your pet’s paw pads.
4. Keep your pet hydrated
Animals need plenty of fluids to stay healthy in the summer heat. Unfortunately, pets can’t tell us when they’re thirsty, so it’s up to pet owners to make sure their furry friends are getting enough to drink. Dogs and cats should have access to fresh water at all times, and it’s a good idea to provide them with additional water bowls in shady spots around the yard and always ensure they have fresh water in your home, too. If you’re heading outdoors with your pet, be sure to bring along a water bottle and bowl for them to use.
6. Feline-specific tips
Here are a few ideas to help keep your cat physically active during the hot summer days:
- Set up an obstacle course in your home using boxes, tunnels, and other safe objects.
- Play with your cat using a wand toy or other toy that encourages them to move around.
- Give your cat access to a scratching post or climbing tree so they can move about and climb.
By keeping your cat physically active, you can help them stay healthy and prevent boredom during the long summer days.
7. Know the signs of danger for your pet
Pets can suffer from heat exhaustion and heat stroke just like people can. Symptoms of heat exhaustion include:
- excessive drooling
If your pet is showing any of these signs, stop the activity immediately and move to a cooler location. Give your pet cool (not cold) water to drink and apply a cool, wet cloth to their body. If you suspect your pet has heat stroke, call us immediately.
7. Reward your pet after a good workout!
After you’ve enjoyed time together outdoors, show your pet how proud you are of them with a healthy treat. Just like people, pets need to refuel after exercise. Giving them their favorite treat is a great way to reward them and show your affection.
Take time to sit together and cool down. Your pet will love the extra time you’re spending with them.
Enjoy summer with your pet!
Summer is a fantastic time to get more time to spend with your pet outdoors, especially in our Smyrna, GA area. We hope these tips help you and your furry friend enjoy the summer months together. If you have any questions or concerns, please give us a call. As a veterinary team conveniently located in The Shops at Belmont, we’re always happy to help. At VETERINARYCARE At Belmont ™, we offer extended hours of 9 am – 9 pm to provide exceptional veterinary care for your treasured pets.
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