If you’re a dog owner, chances are you really don’t think much about your daily walks but with the recent spell of hot weather that’s been gripping most of the country, heat poses extra risks. Here are some tips for taking your dog walking when the temperature rises-

1. Customized Walk
Every dog is different. Experts suggest customizing your walk to suit your dog’s physical type and endurance level. If your dog is slightly overweight and you’re starting an exercise program, then three or four short, 10-minute walks might work better than one long one. For a more energetic, younger or thinner dog, a longer walk might work fine, but a brief rest and drink every 10 minutes helps keep your dog cool and hydrated.

Small dogs have to work harder to cover the same distance that might be a mere hop and a skip for a larger dog. Remember your dog’s size as you customize your walk. And dogs with snub-noses are more prone to respiratory distress in hot weather. It’s a little harder for them to cool themselves effectively, so walking in the morning or evening may be better.

2. Puddles
In the summer, you aren’t as likely to run into antifreeze in water on the street. Nonetheless, puddles should not be water sources for your dog during your walk. They can harbor parasites and other road chemicals such as motor oil.

3. What to Bring
For a safe walk in summer, here is a checklist of things you might want to bring along to make your dog’s walk successful, healthy, and safe.

-Cool water should be taken along (for you, too!). Consider a backpack with an ice pack (a slim gel pack from your freezer will do fine and won’t add too much weight). Put bottles of water for both of you in the pack.

-A collapsible water bowl can be slipped into your backpack too.

-Treats are good to bring along for reward and to sustain your dog.

-Tweezers can be handy for removing ticks.

-Flea and tick repellent should be applied before your walk.

4. Go for Grass
Whenever possible, try to get your dog to grass or vegetation during the walk. Hot concrete can burn his paws. If you can, a walk in the woods or park with shade is a good choice.

5. Know the Signs

Watch your dog for signs of discomfort and agitation. Excessive panting is also a sign that your dog is getting overheated. If you see signs of heat exhaustion, get your dog to an air conditioned car or building as soon as possible, and call your vet.

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