While the summer months can be associated by most with sun block, iced beverages, and firework displays, many may also associate this time with exercise. Whether it is a game of beach volleyball or a bike ride in the park, summer break serves as a prime opportunity to get outside and get active. Dog owners in particular take advantage of the sunshine by bringing their canine pals along for some cardio. Although dog owners walk their pets year round, the warm weather typically serves as an incentive to spend an even greater amount of time outside with the dog. For this reason, Good Dog! is here to bring our fellow dog lovers some tips to ensure your pups have a safe and enjoyable work out!
Going for a walk or run around the neighborhood is an excellent way to keep your dog in shape - in addition to a balanced diet, exercise is essential for a healthy pup. On particularly warm days, a walk may be an ideal way to enjoy some fresh air, however, there are precautions to be taken before you set out with your dog this summer. As air temperatures rise, asphalt temperatures steadily rise as well. In fact, asphalt temperatures may rise as high as 40-50 degrees warmer than air temperatures, thus making the ground severely uncomfortable for pets (Journal of the American Medical Association). On an average summer day when the air temperature is approximately 80 degrees Fahrenheit, the asphalt temperature can range anywhere from 125-135 degrees Fahrenheit. At these temperatures, skin destruction can occur within sixty seconds of contact with the asphalt (Journal of the American Medical Association). To prevent canine companions from being subject to skin destruction, bare paws should not come into contact with scalding asphalt. If your dog walks barefoot in extreme temperatures, there is high risk of severe burns on the paws.
What is the most effective way of ensuring your dog does not suffer from burns this summer? Good Dog! lead trainer, Sam, suggests a few simple tricks that can go a long way on a blistering summer day.
Prior to prepping pups for a walk, dog owners should test the asphalt temperate using the ten second rule. If you cannot hold the back of your hand on the ground for ten seconds, then the pavement is too hot for puppy paws. Keep in mind that this test should be done in the sun - avoid shaded areas for the most accurate measure of the asphalt temperature. On days when the air temperature has reached 75 degrees Fahrenheit or higher, it is especially important to use the ten second rule before heading for a walk. In the event it is indeed too hot to hold your hand (or paw) to the pavement, a walk is not necessarily out of the question. A dog can happily beat the heat if he or she has learned to use doggy boots!
If you choose to buy doggy boots, you will have to train your dog to wear them. Boots will most likely feel uncomfortable at first, especially if they do not fit properly. A good quality boot should have a solid plastic or rubber sole in order to effectively shield from the heat.
When it comes time to train your dog to wear the boots, Good Dog! trainer Sam suggests using a reward system of savory treats. It's best to first allow pups to 'investigate' the foreign shoes a bit as you provide a ton of delicious treats. You should continue to provide treats while placing the boots on the paws one by one ; at this point, you two aren't going for walks, but simply checking out the boots. Repeating this over the course of a week or so will help your puppy to associate the new boots with something positive- yummy treats! Next you will want to start breaking in the shoes little by little. Take your dog out with the boots for a few minutes at a time, all the while administering treats. Doing this for several days will allow your dog to become increasingly comfortable wearing the boots, until he or she reaches the point of complete confidence wearing their new gear.
Summer break is a great time to head outside and spend extra time bonding with your pooch. Here at Good Dog! We want to help you and your furry friends make the most of the season, so the only worry you have is where to try out your new doggy boots first!