Dogs Trust Shoreham has issued some tips about what to do when it is too hot for a dog walk, to make sure that pets are still burning off energy safely.
With the heatwave set to continue, it is important to remember that dogs can become increasingly bored and frustrated in warm weather.
Shoreham rehoming centre manager Tracey Rae said: “Having fun with your dog is one of the biggest and most important parts of dog ownership – so why should a little bit of sun spoil all the fun? Enrichment is a key part of ensuring our dogs are stimulated and happy, but in warm weather it can be tricky to do this safely. Our top tips will help dogs and owners have fun together safely, whilst keeping cool."
Staff advise that mental exercise can be just as tiring as physical exercise, so doing some brain training will help prevent dogs from getting bored and restless. Learning tricks like getting your dog to touch your hand with their nose or teaching your dog to focus their attention fully on you are great ways to keep your dog occupied.
Playing indoors can be a great alternative to outdoor fun, such as hiding toys and getting dogs to search for them. Expert advice states to make sure you are always there, it isn’t too high intensity and take regular breaks to ensure your dog keeps cool.
Another tip is to make the most of feeding time and include some indoor foraging opportunities that use their brains rather than their bodies. This includes laying out treat trails around the house for them to find, using puzzle-feeders or getting creative and making your own food games.
When you’re recycling keep anything that is safe for your dog to use as part of a fun food game, for example kibbles hidden within scrunched up newspaper inside cardboard boxes, or empty plastic bottles, with the lids removed, with kibble inside. Dogs should be supervised in case they need help.
Paddling pools in gardens can be introduced carefully, as long as there is adequate supervision. Plastic pools that aren’t too deep are thought to be best as they shouldn’t burst. Place it in the shade if you have the option, and encourage your dog to paddle with some treats if they like it.
Tracey added: “It’s important to remember that dogs won’t necessarily know if they are overheating and might continue to play and dash about in hot temperatures, because they might have such a strong desire to play.
"So just because a dog is chasing a ball and bringing it back, this doesn’t mean their body is physically coping with this activity, and they might be likely to overheat. It’s up to owners to regulate playtime and call time if it gets a bit too energetic.
"Help your dog to cool down by giving them a tasty watermelon slice in moderation, making sure they have plenty of shade, and by putting fresh wet towels on the floor for them to lie down on.”