With the Ten for Texas Woodlands run right around the corner, I have begun training for the race by running in the mornings with my pups. My bird dogs were completely built to move, but the Texas heat can make running outdoors a not-so-fun adventure. So, what are some ways to protect my four legged friends from this heat?

Protect those toes:
My husband purchased these cute booties at REI outlet to protect my pups paws from the hot cement. The trees around the trails in The Woodlands help to keep the cement cooler, but at 100+ degrees, a 10-degree differential just is not enough to ensure my pups are safe. These are also great for rough terrain.

Choose “Cool” times:
To decrease the risk of heat stroke, it’s important to choose cooler times during the day to run your pups. Mornings work best for me, but that’s because I am often too tired after work. Either way, early morning or later evening times are cooler parts of the day. Remember our furry friends do not have the same sweat glands we have. They have to blow off heat (literally) by panting. Monitor your pup for signs of overheating:

Excessive Panting
Excessive salivation
Bright red or pale gums
Occidentally vomiting or diarrhea can be seen

If your dog is experiencing signs of heatstroke get your dog to a cool area and contact your veterinarian immediately. They may advise you to take a temperature rectally.

After a hot run, I allow my pups to jump in the pool for a nice swim!

Always have a water source available:
There are number of portable water devices for dogs on the market today. Find one that works for you and take it with you. Allowing your pups to drink water from stagnant ponds or sidewalk water puts them at risk for illnesses like Giardia and Blue-Green Algae Toxicity. Providing your pup with fresh, clean water is important!

Start Slow:
When I push myself too hard too quickly, I become very sore the next day! Our dog’s bodies are made up of the same basic ingredients as ours. Just like our muscles are sore when we over do it, dogs can become sore as well. Keep this in mind, and start slow with your furry companions. Allow them to adjust to being in the Texas heat, and also to adjust to the exercise. I expect that my pups can run 3-4 miles a day, but a 10 mile run is definitely overdoing it!

Other tips to remember:

Keep in mind that not all breeds of dogs were built to run. Short nosed dogs, like pugs and bulldogs, fall into this category. They are a genetic disadvantage and running them (especially in this Texas heat) can put them at an increased risk for heat stroke or respiratory distress (difficultly breathing). It’s also important to remember that most dog’s growth plates close between 12-24 months; over exercising a pup at too young of age may damage those growth plates and impede proper development. Consult with your veterinarian before you beginning training with your pup.

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