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Summer Safety Tips for Dogs: 6 Scenarios to Be Careful In

Nicole Cosgrove

Is there any better way to enjoy the warm months of summer than with your best friend? Summer is ideal for walks in the park or a rousing game of fetch. It’s also a time to practice safe playtime. Rising temperatures can affect both you and your pup adversely if you’re not careful. Our guide will offer advice for different scenarios when you’re out enjoying the pleasant weather.

The key to a safe summer is using your best judgment, whether at the lake, on the road, or on a walk. It’s easy to let the heat of the moment take over and push for just one more game or go a bit farther down the trail. It’s essential to keep safety top of mind, especially with puppies and senior pets.divider-dog

1. Jumping in the Lake

German-shepherd-dog-playing-in-water_Rita_Kochmarjova_shutterstock
Credit: Rita Kochmarjova, Shutterstock

It’s always fun to take a dip to cool off when it gets hot. Remember that swimming is a strenuous activity, even for people. Don’t let you and your pup get too caught up in the action that you avoid taking regular breaks. Also, your pet can get a sunburn, just like you.

  • Stick to shallow waters.
  • Limit time in the sun and lake during 10 a.m.-2 p.m.
  • Avoid short haircuts, especially for cold-weather breeds like Samoyeds.
  • Invest in a doggy life vest.
  • Steer clear of currents and riptides.

2. Turning Up the Heat

One of the most common and potentially dangerous conditions is heatstroke. Brachycephalic, or short-faced, breeds, such as French Bulldogs, have a tougher time dealing with hot weather than other pups. Dogs pant to cool themselves. The head and muzzle shape of brachycephalic pups makes it more difficult for them to lower their body temperature as efficiently.

However, any dog can get overheated. That makes it imperative to recognize the early warning signs of heat exhaustion. If you suspect it, get your pet out of the sun and into the shade. Place a cool, damp towel on their body. You can also offer water so your pup can cool themselves internally.

Symptoms of heatstroke include:
  • Drooling
  • Labored breathing
  • Red gums
  • Collapse

3. Hydrated and Well-Fed

Shetland sheepdog eats food from a food bowl
Image Credit: filmbildfabrik, Shutterstock

It’s easy to forget to eat and drink when you’re having fun. However, it’s essential to keep your pet — and yourself — hydrated. It’s vital to have fresh food and water available at all times. This will also ensure that keep your pup’s blood sugar stable to avoid hypoglycemia.

Signs of dehydration include:
  • Thick saliva
  • Lethargy
  • Heavy panting
  • Pale gums
  • Loss of appetite

3. Beware of Hot Ground

We’ve all experienced it: You’re at the beach, and you decide to go for a swim. What you didn’t plan on was how hot the sand is. It’s the same problem for your pooch, whether at the lake or walking the neighborhood. The sidewalks heat up fast too, after all. That’s why it’s better to take your daily stroll in the morning or evening, or you can consider investing in specially made dog shoes for just this purpose.


4. Fleas and Ticks

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Credit: Stock2468, Shutterstock

Almost everything is great about summer, except the inevitable bugs and pests. Since you’re spending more time outdoors, it’s vital to protect your pup against fleas and ticks. Remember that these critters can carry Lyme disease and Rocky Mountain spotted fever. We suggest checking your dog over when you get back home. Pay particular attention to their ears and head.


5. The Big Bang

Some pets have a hard time coping with fireworks and thunderstorms. They may show signs of acute stress and end up in odd hiding places. Some dogs can settle down if you give them a weighted blanket. You can also try desensitizing your pup during the off-season with recordings of storms so they can get used to the noise. You should also discuss the situation with your vet if these measures don’t work.


6. Hitting the Road

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Credit: nadisja, Shutterstock

Summer often means travel, whether by car, RV, boat, or plane. If you’re going to board your pup, you must get your pet up to date on all vaccinations. Many places won’t accept animals that are not current. The same thing applies to airlines that may not offer travel options during the summer. We strongly urge you to call ahead to verify what you need to do.

You should also check with any hotels or campgrounds that you plan to visit to make sure that they are pet-friendly. Many sites will not permit you to tie out your dog. We also suggest that you look for a local vet or boarding facility in case the need arises.

Here are a few other tips for traveling with your dog:
  • Allow your dog to get used to their carrier before you travel, especially if it’s their first time.
  • Place a cooling pad inside the carrier to keep your pet comfortable.
  • Always bring a travel water bowl with you.
  • Never leave your pup unattended in a car.
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Final Thoughts

Summer is an excellent time to enjoy the outdoors and fresh air. It’s also a time to keep safety at the forefront, no matter how you choose to spend the days with your pup. A dog can’t tell you if they feel overheated or dehydrated. That’s why it behooves pet owners to recognize the signs of common ailments, such as heatstroke. It’s the best way to ensure a happy, safe summer for everyone.


Featured image credit: Lunja, Shutterstock

Nicole Cosgrove

Nicole is the proud mom of Baby, a Burmese cat and Rosa, a New Zealand Huntaway. A Canadian expat, Nicole now lives on a lush forest property with her Kiwi husband in New Zealand. She has a strong love for all animals of all shapes and sizes (and particularly loves a good interspecies friendship) and wants to share her animal knowledge and other experts' knowledge with pet lovers across the globe.