By Cool J
A few months ago, I posted about one of my favorite fits: running with Matilda. (Fit Fanatic: Running with man’s best friend)
She’s still my running pal during the summer months; in fact, the two of us went for a nice run this morning.
However, I am always a little concerned about pushing her too hard in the heat of summer. Running in the high temps is hard enough on humans; (trust me, I know- I just ran a painful marathon in the heat of Iowa! Read about it here) But can you imagine running in that same heat, while wearing a fur coat?What if you were unable to sweat, but only able to cool off through panting? Sounds rough.
Heat stroke is a real risk for dogs, and as the mercury rises, we should be on the look-out for any of these symptoms:
- Heavy panting
- Dark red gums
- Tacky or dry mucus membranes (specifically the gums)
- Lying down and unwilling or unable to get up
- Thick saliva
- Dizziness or disorientation
- Move your dog to a cool or shaded area and place cool, wet rags around the head and feet
- Don’t spray your dog with a hose or pour ice water on it as the extremes in temperature can cause additional problems with hypothermia.
- Try to get your dog to drink water but don’t force it to drink.
- Get your dog to a veterinarian right away. Even if your dog seems better there could be internal damage that isn’t visible
- Cut back on the distance/time in the heat.When the temperatures are chilly, Matilda could probably run 8-10 miles and still have the energy to head to the dog park. But in the summer, it’s just too risky. I only run 4-5 miles with her, and I’m sure to take it easy, and try to always pay attention to how she’s doing.
- Access to water: I always run on trails that have access to water. Fortunately, running around the Chain of Lakes offers us several water fountains and easy access to the lakes for a quick swim to cool down. But if you don’t have access to water, I recommend bringing it along with you.
- Adjust the time of day of your run: Run your dogs early in the morning before the sun gets high in the sky and the temperatures begin to rise. Early morning is preferable to evening as the asphalt and sidewalks won’t be as hot.
- Summer hairstyle: If your dog has a thick coat or longer hair, consider shaving its coat once cooler night time temperatures have passed. Matilda is a vizsla, which is a very short haired breed, so we don’t have to worry about this, but I’m sure it could help!