If you’re a dog owner, chances are you really don’t think much about your daily walks. But in the summer, there are some things you might want to consider, making your dog walking as safe and healthy as possible.

Summer heat poses some risks. Here are some tips for taking your beloved four-legged friend walking in hot weather.

Customized Walk

Every dog is different. Experts suggest customizing your walk to suit your dog’s physical type and endurance level. If he is slightly overweight, and you’re starting an exercise program, then three or four short, 10-minute walks might work better than one long one. For a more energetic, younger or thinner dog, a longer walk might work fine, but a brief rest and drink every 10 minutes helps keep your dog cool and hydrated.

Small dogs have to work harder to cover the same distance that might be a mere hop and a skip for a larger dog. Remember their size as you customize your walk. And dogs with snub-noses are more prone to respiratory distress in hot weather, sources say. It’s a little harder for them to cool themselves effectively, so walking in the morning or evening may be better for these breeds.

Puddles

In the summer, you aren’t as likely to run into antifreeze in water on the street. Nonetheless, puddles should not be water sources for your dog during your walk, sources warn. They can harbor parasites and other road chemicals such as motor oil.

What to Bring

For a safe walk, this summer, here is a checklist of things you might want to bring along to make the walk successful, healthy, and safe.

Go for Grass

Whenever possible, try to get your dog to grass or vegetation during the walk. Hot concrete can burn his paws. If you can, a walk in the woods or park with shade is a good choice.

Dog laying in grass

Know the Signs

Watch your dog for signs of discomfort and agitation. Excessive panting is also a sign that he is getting overheated. If you see signs of heat exhaustion, get your dog to an air-conditioned car or building as soon as possible, and call your vet.