Keep you, your pet safe while exercising outside

Keep you, your pet safe while exercising outside

Credit: Photo by Ed Sparks

Purina Pro Plan Performance Team demonstration at the 2013 5K9 Walk Run



Posted on June 3, 2013 at 3:53 PM

Updated Thursday, Jun 6 at 3:43 PM

AUSTIN -- Summer is upon us, and the Austin Parks and Recreation Department wants you and your pets to stay safe in the Texas heat.

Many people will hit the trails and parks with their pets this summer and are urged to take precautions against heat exhaustion, heat stroke and injuries while exercising.

Follow these safety tips from the Parks & Rec Department:

  • Gradually increase your exercise regimen and build up your stamina
  • If you are starting an exercise program, check with your doctor before you begin
  • If trying to get back in shape, start off at a slower pace than normal and walk at a pace that allows you to talk freely
  • Pay attention to your body and stop exercising if you are out of breath, feel dizzy, feel nauseated, or experience pain
  • Toward the end of your walk, slow your pace to allow your pulse to return to its normal rate
    Drink plenty of water
  • Take a cellular phone and identification with you, in case of an emergency
  • Wear comfortable walking shoes or athletic shoes with good support
  • Wear loose-fitting, comfortable clothing
  • Wear sunglasses, a hat and use sunscreen
  • If walking in low-light situations, wear reflective clothing
  • Let someone know when and where you are going to walk.
  • Stay on the trail
  • Beware of poisonous plants, insects, or snakes
  • Be alert and look out for tripping hazards
  • Be alert, aware of your surroundings and alert for suspicious persons or questionable behavior on the trail
  • Use the buddy system whenever possible

When it comes to your pet, make sure they gradually build up stamina and exercise too. Some dogs (like those who are overweight, have heart or lung problems or have snub noses) are more at risk for heat exhaustion than others. Make sure your dog has plenty of water.

Here are some pet exhaustion and heat stroke symptoms to watch out for:

  • Heavy panting
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Bright red tongue
  • Red or pale gums
  • Bright red eyes
  • Thick, sticky saliva
  • Excessive drooling
  • Foam around the mouth
  • Restlessness
  • Lethargy and weakness
  • Dizzy and staggering
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Lack of muscle control or coordination
  • Confusion or inattention
  • Coma