It’s Too Hot For Your Dog To Be Outside A Lot Right Now
Here’s how your pup can get some exercise indoors 🏋️
A summer heat wave is making its way across the country, and that’s not really great for anyone, especially our pets.
It’s not safe for your dog to spend too much time outside in extreme heat, but it’s important for your pup’s health that he stay active — so what can you do about it?
While there’s not much that beats an early morning and late evening walk with your dog in terms of exercise during the summer (accessories like a dog cooling vest can help, too), there are activities you can do indoors to keep your dog moving when it’s just too unbearable to go outside.
We spoke to Heather Gilihan, CPDT-KA, trainer at Zoom Room Dog Training, for more insight into the importance of exercising your dog indoors during a heat wave and easy ways your dog can exercise safely in the summer, including activities to do at home and even canine-specific gyms you can bring your dog to (some will even come to you!).
Let’s get started!
The importance of exercising your dog indoors during a heat wave
While being outdoors is often the easiest way to get some exercise in, a summer heat wave can be uncomfortable and potentially dangerous for your dog.
“Dogs must rely on panting as their main form of temperature regulation, and depending on the breed of your dog, pre-existing medical conditions, age and weight, panting alone may not be enough to bring their internal body temperature low enough to avoid heat stroke during the summertime,” Gilihan told The Dodo.
“It’s best to exercise your dog indoors on those hot days to protect them from what can quickly become a potentially fatal situation,” Gilihan added.
Ways to help your dog get exercise at home
Have you ever heard the phrase, “A tired dog is a happy dog?” It’s true. While physical exercise is important to keep your dog active, mental stimulation is just as important to his overall well-being.
“A dog that has the right combination of physical and mental stimulation is a tired, happy dog, and there are lots of easy ways to achieve this indoors,” Gilihan said.
“Teaching your dog new tricks, such as spin, roll over or jumping through a Hula-Hoop, [is] a great way to get their brains and bodies active,” said Gilihan. “If you have a staircase, you and your dog can get some exercise together by running up and down the stairs. To slow them down and provide a bit of mental stimulation, you can also play fun games, like hide-and-seek, tug-of-war, or even using mental stimulation puzzle toys that require both physical activity and problem-solving skills.”
Canine-only gyms and indoor dog agility training
If your schedule doesn’t allow for a lot of free time to exercise with your dog at home, not to worry. Canine-only gyms and dog agility training centers are growing in popularity, which can be another option for your dog to get exercise indoors when the weather is unpredictable.
Trainers can work with dogs of all ages and sizes, and training is geared around each dog’s level of ability. (That being said, if your dog has any specific health issues, you’ll want to run that by the gym ahead of time for peace of mind.)
In South Dakota, dog parents can use On The Run, Sioux Falls’ first mobile dog gym, which operates out of a climate-controlled van. With lots of personal attention and using a treadmill that’s “dog-powered,” dogs can run or walk at any speed they choose, and are given water and bathroom breaks before and after their workouts. Pretty genius, right?
Run Buddy Mobile in Phoenix, Arizona, offers a similar service. With safety and positivity as their main drivers, their state of the art equipment is dog-powered, meaning dogs are encouraged to walk, trot or run at their own pace and are motivated by lots of cheering, clapping and squeaky toys by their K-9 specialists.
Zoom Room Dog Training, where Gilihan is a trainer, has 24 locations across the country with more coming soon. They offer group classes centering around obedience, tricks and agility, which are great ways to give your dog a physical activity to do while still requiring him to listen and problem solve. The space can also be privately reserved so you and your dog can have the agility course to yourselves (how cool is that?), and supervised play groups are also an option.
We love that all of these options are powered by positive reinforcement and motivation while giving your dog what he needs when the weather is too uncomfortable to be outside. Perhaps your town offers an indoor option for dogs to get some exercise, too?
So, whether you’re exercising your dog at home or indoors at a canine-only gym or agility center, your pup definitely deserves a special treat after he’s done. Stay cool, friends!