Dogs still need exercise during the heatwave

If you’re a dog owner, don’t forget that your pets still need exercise even though it’s roasting outside. While hot pavements in the heatwave can damage paws, dogs can also suffer from inactivity if it’s too hot for walkies. In particular, vets have warned that they can put on weight if they’re left indoors to keep them away from the sun.

The RSPCA said: ‘Dogs need exercise, even when it’s hot. We recommend walking your dog in the morning or evening when they will not burn its paws on the pavement or be at increased risk of heatstroke. ‘If the pavement is too hot for your hand it’s too hot for your dog’s paws.’

Extreme heat is predicted over the next couple of days, with temperatures set to hit 35C on Thursday and rise as high as 37C on Friday. But while walking your dog in the sweltering conditions might not be the best idea, there are steps you can take to ensure they still get exercise. The Dogs Trust has advised owners that dogs can become frustrated and restless when they’re not able to get out and burn off their energy.

But there are indoor alternatives – such as playing inside, hiding toys or treats around the home, and mental challenges such as learning new tricks can also help. Alternatively, shallow paddling pools placed in the shade are most dogs’ dream, and help them get some much-needed exercise.

Walks should be reserved for the early morning or late evening when temperatures and pavements are cooler. Tamsin Durston, canine behaviour officer at The Dogs Trust, said: ‘Why should a little bit of sun spoil all the fun? ‘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. ‘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.

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