Summertime is full of new adventures, time outdoors, and delicious snacks – and your dog can’t wait to join you for all of it! Make sure your four-legged family members have a safe and happy summer with these ten tips and, as always, reach out to your vet with questions.
- Protect their paws.
If you rest the back of your hand on the pavement for ten seconds and it’s too hot for you, it’s too hot for your pup! Take walks early in the morning or late at night when the pavement has had time to cool down. You can also invest in booties to protect their paws.
- Stay hydrated and keep safe outdoors.
If you’re extra thirsty in the heat, your dog is too! Carry a portable water dish with you so you can help your dog stay hydrated on the go. Watch for signs of heatstroke, like excessive panting, glassy eyes, bright red gums, vomiting, or trouble standing. If you see these signs, contact your vet right away.
Lots of pups love to romp in a sprinkler or splash away in a kiddie pool. Be sure to monitor your dog when playing in water to ensure they’re staying happy and safe. If you’re planning to use bug spray or sunscreen for Fido, be sure to ask your vet for animal-safe options.
- Practice car safety.
If you’ve got a road trip on the calendar, make sure your furry friends are set up for success. A loose dog in the car could cause a hazard for the driver – and if you stop suddenly, your dog could go flying! Use a crate or a dog harness to keep your pet safe while the vehicle is in motion.
Letting your dog hang out of the car window might look cute, but it puts your pup at risk of injury if you have to stop short or swerve. They could fall out of the window or get hit with dust and debris.
Most importantly, never leave your dog alone in the car. Cars can get very hot, very fast and just a few minutes in a hot car can be fatal.
- Create a pet emergency kit.
Summer weather can turn dangerous with little notice. Like your human emergency kit, a pet emergency kit ensures you can keep your pet safe even if you have to leave your house in a hurry. The kit should contain a week’s supply of food, water, and medicine; a favorite toy or comfort item; waste bags; documents about your dog’s health including vaccines and allergies; and your vet’s contact information.
- Prepare for the worst-case scenario.
You never know what might startle your dog or encourage them to run. To ensure a quick reunion, make sure your dog is microchipped and their contact information is up to date. Keep a collar and tags on them at all times for easy identification, especially if you and your dog plan on traveling to some new destinations. Keep a recent photo of your dog with you at all times – you probably have hundreds on your phone, but print one out for your wallet, too!
- Steer clear of debris.
Summer thunderstorms or weather emergencies can often leave behind a trail of dangerous debris. Keep an eye on your yard, dog park, or usual walking trails for broken glass, downed power lines, unused fireworks, or standing water that could pose a hazard to you or your pet.
- Keep pests away.
Ticks are more common in the warm weather and can attach to your dogs while they romp through grassy or wooded areas. Make sure you talk with your vet about preventative medicine options and learn how to identify ticks on your pet.
- Avoid food and décor hazards.
With all the excitement of a gathering, your pup may mistake a piece of décor for a fun toy or a delicious treat. Avoid letting pets chew on things like glowsticks or plastic jewelry to avoid an emergency trip to the vet. Many of our favorite summer foods aren’t safe for our furry friends, so try to feed your dog on their normal schedule and ensure that leftovers are securely out of reach.
- See things from your dog’s perspective.
While your neighbors might love to see your dog at the neighborhood BBQ, too much attention could create a very stressful environment for her or even inspire her to run off and hide somewhere unexpected. If your dog startles with crowds, loud noises, or new people, leave her at home. If you’re hosting the gathering, make sure to let your guests know that there is a dog on the premises and give her space to relax, like her crate, if she is showing signs of stress.
- Prepare for fireworks.
Though they are a cherished tradition at many summer gatherings, fireworks can be terrifying for your dog. More dogs go missing around 4th of July than during any other time of year! Prep for the big display by lowering your blinds, playing some white noise or music, creating a safe place for your dog to hide such as in a closet, and make sure your dog is in for the night well before the party starts. If you anticipate intense stress for your pet, talk to your vet about additional options for stress relief, like medication.
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