When the hot weather is at its peak, most of us have great ideas about spending long lazy days enjoying the sunshine with our dogs. However, the thought of fun in the sun is often easier to manage than the reality, and every dog owner is all too familiar with spending the odd miserable day overheating with a dog that has flumped out and wilted in the heat!
It is easy to enjoy the summer with your dog and the wide range of activities that the sunshine brings, as long as both of you can keep your cool and get some respite from the heat!
Here are five fun ways to put a smile on your dog’s face during the hottest days of the year.
Using water is a great way to cool down and get the most out of the sun, and there are many ways that you can manage this with your dog. A day at the beach is always a possibility, but you can also set up a simple paddling pool at home for you and your dog too!
Small paddling pools for children are inexpensive and readily available to buy during the summer months, and situating one in your garden filled with clean, cooling water can provide both entertainment and a much-needed respite from the heat for your dog. You can be as inventive about this as you like, possibly even setting up plastic sheeting with a hosepipe to provide a slip-and-slide game for dogs and children alike!
Remember that dogs can overheat with strenuous activity, even in water, so make sure that your dog doesn’t overdo it.
It is really simple to make an iced treat for your dog, in much the same way that you would for yourself.
You can use ice cube trays to freeze liquids such as gravy for a tasty cooling treat in the sun, or even get inventive by making frozen chicken stock lollies or frozen probiotic yoghurt! Always ensure that anything you create and freeze for your dog is dog safe and non-toxic.
Kong toys with frozen beef or chicken stock hidden in them make an excellent summer pastime for you dog to chew on and investigate, although remember that anything that is going to defrost and potentially make a mess is best served outdoors!
It is generally not recommended to walk your dog while riding your bike, for both safety and control reasons. But one excellent way to cool your dog down during the summer is by buying a special pushbike trailer or cart that you can secure your dog into for a pull-along ride around the neighbourhood! This will not only help to cool your dog down, but can help to ease the boredom and frustration that can come about by not being able to go on their usual walks during the hottest hours of the day.
Make sure that any trailer or cart that you use is suitable for use with dogs and of an appropriate size for your dog, and that you can secure your dog into it appropriately. Finally, fit a mirror to your handlebars so that you can keep your dog in sight when out riding and be aware of any problems that may arise along the way.
A day trip out into the countryside is a great idea during the summer months, and you may find that the temperature is a couple of degrees lower in hilly areas or near to lakes and rivers. Remember to factor in the length of the car trip there and back, and make sure that it is not so long as to be uncomfortable for your dog during the hottest times of day.
Plan your trip in advance, and make sure that the area you are planning on visiting is both dog safe and open to dogs. Always take water with you in case you cannot find a source of water on site, and make sure that your dog does not overexert himself or spend too long outside in bright sun.
When the weather is particularly hot, it is recommended to walk your dog in the mornings and evenings when the weather is cooler. You will probably see a lot of other dog owners following this advice too, and the parks or green spaces that you visit will often be more populated during these times of day.
Why not befriend some other dog owners that you meet on your travels, and arrange an evening picnic for you and your dogs? An evening cooling down among other canine and human companions can be the perfect way to relax after fighting the heat of the sunny days, with a selection of cool, simple salads for the people and chilled treats and snacks for the dogs!
Enjoy your summer!