Critter Corner: Too hot out for dog? Play inside

Dear Miss Behavin’: We survived the heat wave, but felt bad for our dogs all weekend. The heat slowed them down, but they were still in need of exercise. How can we get their wiggles out next time it’s hot?

Reply: Similar to how we get creative in the rainy season when it comes to getting our dogs exercise, the same out-of-the-box thinking is needed during heat waves.

As you can imagine, any pavement or hard surface is off limits when it’s hot out. If you can’t walk barefoot on those surfaces, your dog shouldn’t either.

Take advantage of early mornings. It’s usually cool outside before 7 a.m., so set the alarm and get in your dog’s walk or trip to the park before it heats up.

You can also invest in a plastic kid’s pool and invite your dog to retrieve toys or treats from the shallow water. Some dogs take more convincing than others, so your treats and toys will vary depending on how much motivation your dog needs. Some dogs will lie in the pool, while others will hop in and out.

If you don’t have room for a mini pool, make an agility course in your living room (only if you have air-conditioning) or play a game of hide-and-go-seek in the house. Both activities will give your dog some mental and physical exercise.

If your dog is bored but it’s too hot for any type of exercise, make some frozen food puzzles or pup-sicles. Freeze some kibble, treats, or other snacks your dog typically enjoys by adding some water to them in a plastic container. Let it freeze like a Popsicle and voila, a pup-sicle! Kong toys or other food puzzle devices can be filled and frozen, making them ready-to-use when it’s hot out and your dog needs a job.

As always, make sure your dog has plenty of access to fresh water and keep them out of the heat as much as possible.

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