Canicross In The Heat
It's important to always consider the weather when planning a run with your dog, particularly in the heat during the summer months.
Unlike humans, dogs can't sweat through their skin so they rely on panting and releasing heat through their paw pads to regulate their body temperature. In hot weather you have to be really mindful of over heating and heat stroke, particularly when Canicrossing as running will naturally also increase their body temperature much more quickly.
🥵 Temperature Vs Humidity
As well as the actual air temperature, it's really important to also take the air humidity level into consideration too as high humidity levels can also make a dog struggle to regulate their temperature much more when running. You can access your local weathers humidity levels and temperature through a weather app.
🔥 Running Surface Temperature
When running in heat, another important thing to consider is the heat retention of the ground, particularly hard surfaces such as concrete and tarmac as they can absorb the heat and in some cases cause burns to their paw pads. A little tip you can do to check if the ground is too hot is by placing the back of your hand on the pavement in the sun, if you cant keep your hand there for 7 seconds because of it burning then its too hot for your dogs paws too.
Even if the weather feels cool enough for a run together, don't fall into the trap of thinking there will be a water supply on route. You never know if your regular watering spots will be dried up or be unsafe to drink. Always ensure you take water with you. I recommend a minimum of 1 litre of water for you and your dog for a 5k run, more if planning a longer route.
Although your dog will naturally be more thirsty running in hotter weather, don’t automatically let them drink as much as they want, as lots of water taken in too quickly can cause bloat and internal problems. Be mindful of how much they are drinking and check they are rehydrating steadily, rather than over drinking too fast. This applies to both during and after a run together.
You can also make some simple adjustments to your runs to make running in warm weather safer.
Go out running very early or very late, avoiding the hottest part of the day.
Pick well shaded areas ideally with water sources where you can have regular stops for your dog to cool off.
Ease back on the distance and pace, taking plenty of breaks along the way.
Cut back on the amount of runs you do each week.
If in any doubt at all, leave your dog at home and do some solo training!
Here is a useful guideline chart for running your dog in the heat set by the British Sleddog Sports Federation. Please look at the Canicross section of the chart for running with dogs guidelines.
Please note that this is only to be used as a guideline and it's important for you to know your own dogs' needs and their limitations. If in any doubt, leave them at home.