Keeping Your Dog Active During a Heat Wave

Dr. Sandra Ontiveros

The summers in Central Texas are relentless. If you have a dog at home, you might be struggling to find ways to get them the exercise they need. Here are some tips for keeping your pups active and safe during this unprecedented heat.

Take them for a swim!

Swimming is an excellent form of exercise for both humans and pups. It’s a great way for your dog to work out some energy without geNng overheated. Be sure to be mindful of a few things when going to the lake or spending /me in the pool:

  • Excess water in your dog’s ears can be a problem. Make sure to flush out their ears after spending time in the water. I recommend you use a pet ear wash that includes a drying agent: Dechra’s MalAcetic Otic Cleanser or Epiklean Ear Cleanser work well for this.
  • Dogs should be monitored the entire time they are in the water. If your dog is not a strong swimmer, they should be in a life jacket when they are in the water.
  • Drinking out of the pool can cause tummy upset. If issues arise after your dog spends time in the water, call your veterinarian.
  • If you are taking your dog to any local lakes or rivers, be sure to check for blue-green algae in the water. Ingestion of blue-green algae can be fatal for dogs. For more information on algae levels in local water sources, you can visit this site:

Go for a walk!

  • Because of the excessive heat this summer, you should only walk your dog early in the morning or later in the evening.
  • If you put your hand on pavement, and it’s too hot for you, then it is too hot for your dog. Make sure your dog is walking on a surface that won’t burn their paws or put protective shoes on them.
  • Brachycephalic dogs (Bulldogs, Pugs, Boston Terriers) are especially prone to overheating, since panting to cool off can be a challenge for them. Avoiding the outdoors during the heat of the day is probably best for these breeds. In fact, taking any of these breeds outside only for potty breaks is advisable when the temperature get into the upper 90’s and above.
  • Be sure to have water on-hand for your dog during walks or playtime.
  • Look for any signs of overheating when your dog is outdoors. Symptoms of heat stroke include:
    • excessive panting
    • tongue/gums/ears are bright red
    • excessive drooling
    • lethargy
    • rapid heart rate
    • wide eyes
    • anxiety
    • dribbling urine
    • vomiting or diarrhea

Indoor play!

  • There are several indoor play items that can keep your pets engaged and active. Both snuffle mats and puzzle toys can engage your dog’s senses and help them use problem-solving skills. This can meet your pup’s need for stimulation and play without having to be in the hot sun.
  • Indoor dog parks and indoor dog play areas are an excellent way to help your dog socialize and play without having to be outdoors. Locally, facilities like Zoom Room offer indoor play time for your pups.


If your dog has been outdoors and is exhibiting signs of heat stroke symptoms (discussed above), call your veterinarian right away. If you can take your dog’s temperature, any temp over 104 degrees is concerning enough to bring your dog in. When overheated, using a wet towel to cool down your dog’s paw pads can help bring their temperature down. Avoid dousing them in ice water, as that can cause their temperature to drop too low.

Before you know it, you and your pets will be enjoying the mild Texas winter weather. until then, you can keep your doggo active and beat the heat!

What's Next

  • 1

    Call us or schedule an appointment online.

  • 2

    Meet with a doctor for an initial exam.

  • 3

    Put a plan together for your pet.