Training your dog in hot weather

I found this little rule on the net for those of you who love to train with your dogs. Often we wonder if it's too hot for our canine companion. Those numbers mentionned below can be applied to many sports, the numbers could vary depending on the intensity and the length of the training/race, the health condition and your dog body conformation. There is a difference between an agility course and a 3 km canicross run.

Here is the little rule:

Temperature in celcius multiplied by the humidity in percentage. If the total is less than 1000, it is in general, good. Over 1,500 it is getting way too hot especially if you don’t have water points, places where the dog can cool his body and drink.

Example: if in the city where you train it is 16 ° C and the humidity is 50% do this: 16 X 50 = 800, 800 is bellow 1000, this is good.

Those are important numbers to remember, if you don’t feel like doing the calculation! Canicross should not be done with temperature higher than 18°C and for other joring sport like bikejoring, dog scootering(everything on wheels) don't go if temperature is over 16°C. If humidity is over 85% and the degree higher than 16 or 18 please have your dog practice another type of sport like maybe swimming or even dock diving instead.

-Careful! Because these rules can vary, you are the only one able to determine if the temperature is too hot for your dog. If you are in doubt, it is simple, leave your dog at home and train by yourself! 

-Dogs with flat noses, dogs that have health issues, obese dogs, puppies and older dogs can be more incline to suffer from a heat stroke.

-The best time for training is still early in the morning or late in the evening during the summer.

-Careful! Hydration is important for you and your dog. Don’t wait to be thirsty to drink because it is already too late. When you drink, offer some to your dog at the same time. Your dog might be thirsty earlier than you, keep an eye out.

-Careful about the surface where your dog is running on, it might be too hot for his paws. His pads can get burn.

-Keep An eye on your dog so he doesn't suffer from a heat stroke. Familiarize yourself with the symptoms. 

-Don’t forget that each dog is different, each of them has a different needs and recuperation time.

-Best place to train is in the woods, it is usually cooler. Surface should be sandy, nothing like gravel or pavement. Close to a water point would be perfect.

But let’s get real!!! We are not all that lucky to have all this. So if you live where there is only pavement, paved bike path etc. If your dog is a runner and you are too, what should you do than? Either look for another dog sport ….I know running with your dog has the advantage of being free and if this is both your favorite activity, you will have to do some compromise and adjust to your environment as long as you are both careful…Running on pavement is not good for humans and dogs for different reasons, too hard, too hot, more slippery in some region etc.  Marathon are runned on pavement isn’t it? Well I guess it has to do when you are not that lucky to live close to a wooden area. When we don’t have a choice what should we do? Let the dog eat the walls at home. Bark at everything and anything. If you are careful, you can manage this.

-You live where everything is paved. You like to run often during the week, you
 don’t have the luxury of money and times to drive a couple of hours to go in the woods to train with your dog. Train early in the morning or late in the evening. If it is still too hot you will have to go with something else… sorry!

-You dog is a big time puller, you will either have to check his paws often or have your dog wear boots if his paws are fragile, yes your dog can wear boots in the summer. Always check the surface of the ground with the back of your hand, if the surface is too hot. Yes, your dog could burn his pads if it is too hot. The pavement could chafe your dog’s pad too, so check the paws often.

-Don’t over do it, you have the luxury of changing your sneakers when they are getting worn but your dog can’t. When you train you could also do a series of walk and run instead of just running.

-For wheeled sports I’m not a fan of having a dog running on pavement or any of those surfaces too hard on the dogs pads(chafing) and also can be hot (but anyway I would not do wheeled sports in hot weather). In worst case scenario have your dog wear boots.

During summer, your dog should be on vacation just like the kids. They should recharge their batteries for the 3 other seasons. 

Important!! For the human and for the dog. The human should be seen by a doctor prior starting an exercise program, ask him if the program will be appropriate for you. Same thing with your dog. You should see the vet about the new exercise program that you will be starting with your dog to know if it will be appropriate.

Christianne Tremblay

The information which will be provided to you by Christianne Tremblay replaces under no circumstances the expertise of your veterinary surgeon. This Internet site and Christianne Tremblay and consultations coming from this site must not be used instead of advice, or diagnostic, or treatments of a veterinary surgeon, but rather as a supplementary service to ameliorate and support health, nutrition, physical conditioning and quality of life of your dog. Please, always consult your veterinary surgeon before undertaking, changing or ending treatments or stop the medication of your dog. Christianne Tremblay is not veterinary.

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