As you’ve noticed, my workouts pretty much since February have consisted of walking, walking, and some more walking. Between morning sickness and constant backaches, there’s no way running has even blipped on my radar this pregnancy! Luckily, I’ve had a trusty companion to keep me company on my walks, and I think I’ve started to whip her into shape with all of the extra exercise she’s getting! I wanted to pop in and share a few quick tips for walking with your dog during the hot, hot summer. In Arkansas it heats up fast, and being hyper aware of what the heat index in, and how hydrated I am, is more important than ever!
It’s also important to remember that as your belly grows, your balance is going to feel different. And if you have a strong dog like we do, you need to always be on the alert for anything that could cause them to pull extra hard on the leash, jump, etc. The reality for us is that Truckee is a 95 lb dog, and basically all muscle, so when I walk with her I am extra aware of our surroundings and try my best to avoid anything that could cause her to pull me over! AKA a kid playing outside with a high pitched voice who insists on running over to pet her. As I get further along in my pregnancy, Adam will most likely take over holding the leash, just to be safe.
6 Tips for Safely Walking Your Dog While Pregnant This Summer
1. Make sure that ferocious beast of yours has pooped or peed before you leave the house. The last thing your aching back needs is a sudden diversion into the grass to answer mother nature’s call. And trust me, when you have a BIG dog, when she’s gotta go, she’s GOT to go, whether or not you’re on the other end of the leash. That sudden jarring of the leash can easily tweak your back!
2. Take off later in the night when the heat index has gone down. Even just a few degrees can make all the difference in the world for YOUR safety, and your pooch’s. You may not think about it but even the pavement can be hot enough to burn your dog’s paws! Plus, you, little Miss Pregnant lady, don’t need to be out in the scorching heat in the first place!
3. Carry your phone with you. Always. Always. Always. Now that you’re with child, you’re responsible for not just yourself! I carry my phone with me on every single walk, no matter how short, just in case I were to slip and fall, accidentally overheat, or need Adam to come pick me up for whatever reason. A few nights ago I was walking by myself after it had rained and I slipped walking down our hill and did the splits, which you can guess freaked me out a little. I texted Adam right away and let him know that I had slipped but that I was ok and would be home later than expected so I could walk slower.
4. Use a harness on your dog instead of just a collar. Truckee hates her harness. She will do everything in her power to HIDE from us when she sees us bring it out. But, once it’s on her, she’s fine. I however, love her harness! (We use a Kong harness, similar to this one) It connects under both her arm pits, and pulls her from her arms and chest, instead of yanking on her neck. I feel much more in control of her, and she is always calmer with it on as well.
5. Wear sturdy shoes. Like I mentioned before, now that your balance is a little different and you really don’t want to fall, wearing sturdy shoes is a must. Don’t fall prey to walking in flip flops or other loose sandals “just because you’re walking.” I loyally wear either my Chacos or a pair of running shoes every time. With both, my feet are secure, comfortable, and I’m not prone to tripping!
6. Hydrate well before you leave. This is assuming you’re heading out for a short amount of time, and not in the peak heat of the day. You don’t want your non-leash holding hand to be full, but you also don’t want to risk getting dehydrated. You OR your dog. By keeping one hand fairly free, (minus holding your phone), you will feel more balanced and capable of preventing a stumble. Of course, if you’re heading out for a crazy long trek then of course you should consider bringing water!
It’s a huge blessing to still be able to keep up my daily walks, and be active whenever I want to be. There could easily come a day where I’m not allowed to be on my feet anymore than I have to be, although I’m hoping that doesn’t happen. Either way, each week where I can get moving is a big deal!
How do you stay a little safer in the summer? Do you walk your dog often? What tip would you share?