This year has become a historical year, according to researchers. Not because we have a breakthrough or extraordinary innovations recently, but because the temperature is not suitable for us to take our dogs out. Sounds too ordinary?
Well, fact says the opposite. We are currently facing a momentous heatwave especially for people who live in Europa. More specifically to England, this heatwave is a monster worthy enough to put in the country’s records.
Again, does this mean that we should not take our dogs out for a walk? Whether you are taking your dog outside yourself or hiring a dog walker, this is an important matter to consider. There are still people out there who let their dogs walk on the scorching concrete barefoot. That’s a slow torture that many people just overlook.
Therefore, to give you a good consideration whether or not it is suitable for you to go out with your dog, we will give you the checklist. Here are the lists:
Heat Index for Dogs, Not Temperature
First thing first that you must do before taking your dogs for a walk is definitely checking the temperature outside, right? Wrong, because what you should is checking on the heat index instead. Why is that?
The temperature shown usually only considers the ambient temperature, while humidity is something that we should also consider. Humidity controls the acceptable temperature range for dogs, that’s why in humid places it seems like the air is warmer than what’s shown by the temperature.
“Generally speaking, it is safe to walk a healthy, adult dog when the heat index is 85 degrees or lower. Note that is a heat index, not just ambient temperature, because humidity also contributes to the heat index,” told Dr. Sarah Wooten, a veterinary expert with Pumpkin Pet Insurance, in an interview with HuffPost.
Some dogs may still tolerate the temperature or heat index up to 90 degrees if you can carefully plan on the path and pace. Not walking on the scorching pavement and asphalt, while choosing grass or dirt in relaxed pace instead, is more preferable.
What Kind of Dogs You Have?
The next thing that you should consider is what kind of dog that you own. We all know that various species of dogs live on this planet, and the range of their habitat vary greatly. Some dogs live in the desert while some other species live in the poles.
With such huge different condition in their natural habitat, it is only natural that some of your dogs can survive heat better than the others. On the other hand, it is also natural that some dogs are able to run about outside during winter while the others prefer to lay down beside the fireplace.
“Ability to handle heat really depends on the dog’s breed, coat and health status,” as explained by animal health and behavior consultant at Camp Bow Wow, Erin Askeland. Makes sense, because those extra features affect their ability to withstand heat by miles.
“Dogs with shorter snouts will have a harder time regulating their body temperature and cannot handle hotter temperatures. Dogs with thick coats also may not handle the heat well as they were designed for cold weather. Dogs with health issues, very young, or older dogs may also not be able to handle heat well,” she explained.
Do You Bring Supplies for Your Dogs?
You might think that your dog can handle the heat outside, but nonetheless, make sure to always bring enough supplies to accompany the walk. The most important supply is nothing else but water to rehydrate your buddy.
Make sure your dogs are hydrated well and keep getting enough supply of water throughout the journey. “Always keep them hydrated,” said Dr. Sarah Wooten. In addition to always having water on hand, you can also offer small amounts of water-rich fruit, like melons or berries.”
However, it is not recommended to just bloat them with water upfront and do nothing throughout the walk. Periodically giving them small amount of water is better for their body although a good start is always the better option.
“You can also add water to their dry kibble to increase hydration, or toss ice cubes made with chicken broth in the water bowl to entice them to drink more,” said Dr. Wooten.
Feel It with Your Own Hand
The next thing that you need to do is to avoid risking getting the paws of your dogs get burned by the scorching pavement. But how do we know whether the pavement is too hot or not for our dogs if they cannot tell us?
Feeling the temperature with our own hands is the simplest way to tell whether it is too hot or not. “If where you live is surrounded by pavement, put your hand on the ground,” advised Dr. Heather Berst, a veterinarian and medical lead with Zoetis.
Put your hands on the pavement for about 10 seconds and feel it. If it is too hot for you, then it is too hot for them too. “If it feels too hot to the touch, don’t walk your dog on the pavement because their paws could burn,” said Dr. Berst.
What if we put some boots for them? Even though it sounds like a good idea, it is not truly recommended to do that. “While some dog boots can prevent paws coming in contact with the hot surface, it may simply be too hot to walk your dog regardless of paw protection,” she explained.
Timing, Timing, and Timing
The next thing that you need to consider is the timing. We know that midday is the hottest time of the day, and even though sometimes we feel like the temperature is still okay for us to go out, but our dogs may have different thought about that.
Sometimes we just forget that the temperature below is not the only thing we need to consider. Direct sun from above can also torture our dogs. “If it is very hot, it’s better to walk very early or very late in the day to avoid the extreme temperatures and direct sun,” as explained by Dr. Askeland.
“Treat the walks as a chance to stroll and sniff instead of trying to move quickly or cover a lot of ground,” she added.