With much of our time spent inside over the past few months, we’re all looking forward to being outdoors more this summer. And, of course, we want our furry best friends to join us.
Since June is National Pet Preparedness Month, here are 9 ways to keep pet safety in mind as you plan a special summer with your pup.
1. Protect those paws. Pavement, wood decks, sand and other surfaces can badly burn dogs’ paws. Take walks in the morning when the ground has had time to cool overnight. Put the back of your hand against the ground for 10 seconds to test the temperature. If it’s not comfortable for you, it won’t be for your pup, either! If you must walk in the heat, get booties to keep your dog’s foot pads safe.
2. Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate. Dogs need more water than people do, so provide lots of cool, fresh water whenever your pup is active. Look for a packable folding water dish at your local pet store and carry water with you. Monitor how much your pup drinks and watch for signs of heatstroke, like excessive panting, glazed dyes, bright red gums, or trouble standing. Call your vet immediately if you suspect your dog is in distress.
3. Talk with your vet. Your dog’s age, health and breed might make outdoor exercise more difficult during hot weather. Talk with your veterinarian if you have any questions. They can recommend the best activities and schedule so your dog can enjoy the outdoors as much as you do.
4. Stay safe on the road. If you’re planning a car trip, make sure your dog is safely restrained while in motion – use a crate or a doggie harness to protect you and your pup. Sudden stops without restraint can send a dog flying! Plus, if your dog is moving around inside your car, they could inadvertently block your view of traffic.
5. Never leave your dog in the car. It’s never a good idea to leave a pup alone in a car, but it’s especially important when the weather is warm. Even in the shade, the temperature in a car can rise by 35 degrees in just 30 minutes. Leaving the window cracked doesn’t make a significant difference. The only safe time for a dog to be in a car is when you’re there too.
6. Be ready for Mother Nature. In most parts of the country, weather can turn with little notice. Have an emergency plan in place for you and your family – including your dog! Designate someone whose job it will be to find your dog and get them to safety. And, know all your pup’s hiding places so you can find them no matter what.
7. Have a pet emergency kit. Keep your kit near the door so you can grab it and go in a hurry. It should include a photo of you and your dog to document ownership; information about your dog’s health, vaccinations and allergies; and contact info for your veterinarian. Include a week’s supply of food, water and medications, as well as favorite toys, bedding and doggie waste bags.
8. Don’t let your pet get away. When weather or other surprises make a situation scary, dogs may be startled or try to flee. Keep a leash or crate handy so it’s easy to secure your dog when needed. Make sure your dog always wears a collar with ID for easy identification. Plus, all dogs should be microchipped so that if they do get lost, they’ll have a better chance of getting home. You may also want to consider a wearable pet tracker like Whistle.
9. Beware of post-storm dangers. After weather emergencies pass, there are often still threats to your dog’s safety. Check your home’s exterior for fallen trees or other debris, downed power lines, broken glass or standing water. Keep your dog indoors or keep a close eye on them when outside, until you know it’s safe.
Have a safe and fun summer! And check out these additional resources for pet safety: