Hot Weather Tips for Professional Dog Walkers

If you live in a climate where it gets hot during the summer months, long days working outside can be draining and miserable. Take some precautions to keep you and the pups in your care more comfortable. Heat stroke can be fatal to dogs.


It's a good idea to include in your policies that you reserve the right to shorten walks in the event of hot weather. Remind your clients as warm weather is starting that walks may be shorted to prevent dogs from overheating. Read on for some more essential tips for walking in the heat. 


1. Stay hydrated. Bring plenty of water for you and the dogs to prevent dehydration. 

2. Check the pavement to make sure it's not too hot for the dog's paws. Hot asphalt will burn paw pads. If you notice a dog lifting his paws, walking fast, or "dancing" on hot surfaces, his paws are probably burning. This can cause serious damage to paw pads. 

3. Watch for signs of overheating. Heavy panting, vomiting, bright red or blue tongue, dry gums and drooling are some signs. Err on the side of caution and stop the walk if you think a dog is getting too warm. 

4. Head for the shade or water to keep cool and let the dogs dip their paws in the water.

5. Take it easy and avoid strenuous activity. Do a slow "sniffing" walk where you let the dogs stop and sniff as long as they like.

6. Shorten the walk if needed to prevent overheating.
7. Opt for indoor play if possible after a potty break. 
8. Use cooling coats on long haired and brachycephalic breeds (dogs with smooshed faces like pugs and bulldogs). Senior and heavy coated dogs can also benefit from cooling coats, and they are great for any dog.

9. Keep a close watch on senior dogs, overweight dogs and puppies who may not tolerate the heat well. 

10. If you transport dogs in your vehicle, make sure your AC is working each spring. If the AC doesn't reach the rear of your car well, use cooling mats and fans (battery powered or 12 volt). Don't leave dogs in the car more than a few minutes while doing pick up/drop off. 

11. Be firm with your policies and don't give in to a client who is insisting you take a dog out in the heat when you know it's not safe. Better to lose a client than lose a dog to heat stroke. 

Bottom Line

It's your job to ensure dogs in your care are safe, and your clients should appreciate the fact that you put safety first. Stay safe out there!