Walking Your Dog During Chicago Heat Waves

May 27, 2020


Chicago is known for its freezing winters and scorching summers, with not many variants in-between. When nice weather finally starts to hit the city, dog owners tend to flock outdoors to check out all the local dog parks and eat at one of the many dog-friendly patios. However, it’s important to consider all the issues that can arise when the weather is sweltering. Check out all of our tips on walking dogs during Chicago heat waves!

Extreme Weather Notifications

The City of Chicago will activate the Extreme Weather Notification System when there is a heat warning. Additional notifications can be found through the local news and AccuWeather, but the best route is to sign up for the Emergency Telephone Notification System. It will contact households via telephone with a recorded message. This can be a great tool to use for dog owners that may not be aware of how extreme the temperatures are on any given day. Click here to sign up online.

Pre-Walking Measures For Your Dog

Prior to walking your dog in the summer in Chicago, it’s recommended to bring in your pet to their veterinarian to ensure they will be able to withstand the upcoming rising temperatures. Along with receiving a clean bill of health, flea treatments and tick prevention should be administered in order to stave off all the side issues that can come with warmer weather.

Summer Prep Their Coat

While it can be tempting to shave off your dog’s coat, shaving to the lowest level can actually be more harmful than leaving a full length coat. The fur helps to protect against sunburn and overheating, but it’s important to keep a well maintained trim to keep them cool on those ultra hot days.

Summer Prep Their Pads

Dog owners can sometimes forget about how harmful hot pavement can be on delicate paws, especially during a Chicago heat wave. Unless your dog will be wearing booties during their walks, it’s important to treat their pads with a moisturizing paw rub or paw wax. Treating minor cuts at the first onset and protecting against burns is crucial for walks in the brutal heat, especially when attending outdoor festivals. Remember, if you can’t hold the back of your hand to the pavement for 5 seconds, it’s too hot for your pups paws.

Stay Hydrated

While owners are aware of the importance of keeping your dog hydrated on a regular walk, extra high temperatures can cause an increased need for water. In order to stave off dehydration, it’s best to provide ample water during a heat wave. If the walk is to a local venue or dog park, take advantage of the locations that provide water for dogs.

Stay Cool

The general rule of thumb with overly hot or humid weather is that if it’s too hot for you, then it is too hot for your dog. Yet, dogs thrive in their behavior when they are exercised, and they will inevitably need to be taken out to do their business. During these extra hot days, it’s important to keep cool as much as possible. Stay in the shade, or check out one of the many cooling stations scattered throughout the city that become activated during periods of extreme temperatures.

Since Chicago heat waves can be intense in their temperature and humidity, even taking all the preventative steps can still not be enough to protect against heatstroke. The age, endurance, weight, and breed can all be factors in a dog’s vulnerability to heatstroke, so it’s important to recognize the signs.

Signs of Heatstroke

Heavy panting, difficulty breathing, lack of coordination, profuse salivating, vomiting, or a discolored tongue are all signs that are prevalent in heatstroke for dogs. If you’re out on a walk and they start to exhibit any of these signs, you should take the necessary steps in treating your pooch before taking him or her to the vet.

Small amounts of cool drinking water should be provided, as well as cold towels or ice packs on the neck, head, and chest area while bringing them into a shaded or air-conditioned area. Taking the preventative steps before your walk and being aware of the dangers during heat waves will ensure your dog gets through another scorching summer in Chicago safely.