Keep Fido fit: Exercising your dog in the dog days of summer

The dog days of summer are just around the corner. Hot, sticky, humid. Nothing sounds better than kicking back in the air conditioning with a cold drink in hand. But not so fast!

Did you know that up to 50% of dogs in the U.S. are overweight? And just like people, overweight pups are at risk of health problems including diabetes, heart disease and arthritis. Exercising your dog is important to their health — and it can benefit yours. In fact, research shows people who own dogs reap many health benefits.

So, get up off that sofa. Here are some activities you can do with your dog this summer, so you both stay active:

Play in the Water

Play in the water

Swimming is good exercise and keeps you and Fido cool. Take your pet on a lake getaway or gentle stream. Just do a quick Google search for dog-friendly beaches in the area.Take along water toys like a Frisbee or floating ball. No beach? No problem! Set up a kiddie pool in the back yard or turn on the sprinkler and play fetch.

Become early birds or night owls

Become early birds or night owls

If you usually take your dog for a walk during the day, consider changing your routine. Schedule your strolls for early morning and late evening with the sun is low in the sky and temperatures are a bit cooler. Hot sidewalks or asphalt can be painful on your pup’s paws, so try to walk your pet in the grass or use paw balm or shoes. Also, be sure to carry a portable water dish in case they get thirsty.

Stay inside and play a game

Stay inside and play a game

Hot temperatures can be dangerous for some high-risk pets such as older dogs, young puppies and ones with health problems. Staying inside where it’s cool might be your safest option. But you can still be active by playing games. Try hide and seek with treats, set up an obstacle course or even do stairs with your dog.

Go for a wak inside an air-conditioned pet store

Go for a walk inside an air-conditioned pet store

If you’re itching to get out of the house, leash up Fido and head to an air-conditioned pet store for a walk. Plus, you can pick up a few extra supplies — and maybe a treat for your goodest boys.

No matter the activity you choose, be sure to always keep your dog hydrated and watch for cues that they’re overheated. Keep the activity intensity low when the temps are high and have fun!