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Calgary heatwave affecting outdoor activities for dog owners

Calgary’s heatwave is seeing temps rising above 35 Celsius and that might limit options for exercising our furry friends.

The heat gripping Calgary is expected to last into the weekend with some relief Saturday. The temperatures will still be warm though.

Kim O’Mahony, co-owner/founder of Dawg Tired Inc., said that these kinds of temperatures are particularly dangerous for dogs.

“They regulate heat differently than we do. Humans sweat through their whole bodies while dogs cool themselves by panting and sweating through their paws,” said O’Mahony.

“You need to make sure that their smaller bodies are staying cooler because they can’t always regulate heat well,”

When the air temperature is 30 Celsius, concrete can get as hot as 40 degrees, with asphalt getting as hot as 54 degrees. O’Mahony said that if you are to take your dog for a walk in conditions like these you need to take extra precautions. 

“If you are talking a dog out for a walk in temperatures that are extreme, give them a paw bath when they get back home. We want to keep their pads healthy and it is a lovely way to bond with your dogs as well,” said O’Mahony.

Ciara Healy with the Calgary Humane Society said an easy way to tell if it is too hot to walk your dogs is to feel the ground with your hand. If it is too hot for your hand then it is too hot for your dog.

“It’s important to look for signs of heat exhaustion. If you notice things like excessive panting, tiredness then it might be time to put some pet friendly sunscreen on the animal,” said Healy.

Working around the heat

If you absolutely need to get out with your dog however, Healy said that it is best to take your dog out during times when the temperature is not as extreme.

“Becoming an early bird or a night owl is the best time to take your dog out. It might be torturous for you but it’s best to help your animal this way,” said Healy

O’Mahony said that an alternative way to interact with your dog is to train your dog or to exercise it mentally if you are unable to get outside.

“It’s a great opportunity to work their brains because they are not getting out and running around. We need to be able to work their minds and canine enrichment is a really simple easy way to do it,” said O’Mahony

O’Mahony said that these exercises could be anything from trick training or hiding treats for them to go and find.

“Twenty minutes of working your brain like that is the equivalent of about an hour’s worth of running around outside,” she said.