It’s no secret that summer time in the South can get hot. With temperatures that climb into the triple digits, it’s not uncommon to hear someone claim that “you can fry an egg on the sidewalk”. Whether this is fiction or not, you wouldn’t walk barefoot on the hot pavement, and neither should our pets. Our pets still require ample exercise in the summer, and you will likely need to make some adjustments to your normal routine to keep your furry family members safe and healthy. Use these tips to help burn your pup’s energy, ensure your pets are getting proper exercise, and be sure everyone enjoys a cool and healthy summer! 1. Schedule walks and exercise times during the mornings when the temperature has not yet risen to its peak or evenings after the sun has gone down. Remember, if you’re hot, your dog with a full coat is much hotter. 2. Avoid exercise between 11 am and 3 pm when the sun’s UVB rays are the strongest. Some pets may be more susceptible to sunburn if they have white fur, thin fur, or are a hairless breed. Regardless of the thickness of your pet’s coat, all dogs have areas that have less fur or no fur, such as their ears or their nose. Use a natural or baby sunscreen on your dog to help protect them. Be sure not to use a sunscreen with zinc oxide as it can be toxic to dogs when ingested. 3. Walk in shady/grassy areas. Black asphalt can burn a pet’s paws very quickly and other hard surfaces will be very hot, as well. Be cautious of hot sand when you take your pet to the beach. Test the ground by pushing the back of your hand on the ground for 30 seconds. If it’s too hot for you, it’s too hot for your pet. 4. If your dog enjoys swimming, that is a great summer activity to get exercise! Instead of going for a walk, head to a pet-friendly lake and play fetch into the water. Or put a kiddie pool in your backyard for some splash and play time. 5. Dog doesn’t like swimming? Bring some water or a spray bottle when you are outside and keep your dog cool by wetting their belly and paws. 6. Be sure to have LOTS of drinking water for you and your pet!