Jump to Site Navigation

Summertime Safety


Ah, summertime…just about everyone looks forward to shrugging off the long, cold winter nights and welcoming an abundance of hot, sunny days. Warm weather allows us to spend more time outdoors with our family and friends—and our pets. Both you and your dog can enjoy a carefree, fun-filled summer by following these simple safety tips.

Car Safety
Do not leave your dog in the car—even “just for a minute.” You’d be amazed by how quickly the temperature in your vehicle can rise during warm weather. According to the National Weather Service (NOAA), a dark seat or dashboard can reach a temperature of over 200°F when exposed to the sun! That heat warms the trapped air inside the car, and even leaving the windows open does not do much to dissipate it. In just two minutes, your car can heat up to an unsafe temperature.

Cool Off
Some new products on the market are designed to keep your pet cool while he’s lounging around the house or sitting outside. Beds and mats that use water or other materials designed to cool him off can be a great help during the warm summer months.

Ease Up on the Cardio
We all know that exercise is good for dogs. But avoid strenuous exercise with your pet, especially during the hottest hours of the day. Unlike humans, dogs don’t really sweat. They lose a bit of moisture through their foot pads, but they mostly cool themselves through panting, which is not very efficient in hot weather. This means that dogs have a tendency to overheat quickly. A nice walk early in the morning or after dinner will help get some of his energy out while protecting him from the heat.

Paw Protection
Although your dog’s foot pads may seem tough, they can (and will) burn on hot surfaces like concrete, asphalt, and metal. Avoid surfaces that have been baking in the sun. Walk him on grassy spots, and if need be, carry him over surfaces that are too hot to stand on. Consider purchasing dog booties, rubber boots that fit over your dog’s paws to protect him from hot (or cold) sidewalks.

Shady Stuff
If your dog spends time in your fenced-in backyard, he will need shady spots to rest during the day. If your yard has mature trees, you’re in luck! Otherwise, you’ll need to add an awning or some kind of shelter that provides relief from the sun. Don’t let your dog stay outside for long periods of time. A small kiddie pool filled with water placed in the shade will also help on those hot, humid days.

A dog’s coat is meant to protect him from all types of weather, including the sun. However, if your dog is hairless or shaved for the summer, he will need to wear sunscreen. The tip of a dog’s nose, especially if he’s pale-nosed, can burn. And if your dog likes to lie on his back to get some rays on his belly, use sunscreen on that area as well. The sunscreen you choose should be pet-safe and non-toxic, as there’s a pretty good chance he will be licking it at some point.

Parasite Protection
Summer means more time spent outdoors, so your dog will have greater exposure to pesky parasites like fleas and ticks. Protect him with a preventive topical medication recommended by your veterinarian. Check your dog for fleas and ticks after he’s been playing around outside, and ask your vet about the safest way to remove any parasites you do find on your dog.

Water, Water Everywhere…
Yes, it seems obvious, but it’s easy to overlook how much more water your dog will need when the weather turns hot. Make sure that he has a constant supply of cool, clean water available. Bacteria can grow quickly in the summer heat, so keep the bowl clean. Consider installing a pet fountain in your backyard. (It dispenses water when a pet is in close proximity.) And if you are traveling with your dog, bring some bottled water with you to keep him from becoming dehydrated.

Wet and Wild
Many dogs love the water; some breeds, like Labrador Retrievers, carry the ability to swim in their DNA. But not all breeds are Michael Phelps in the making. Take the Bulldog, for example—his heart may be willing, but his body will most likely not be up for the challenge. According to PetMD.com, an estimated 40,000 dogs die each year due to drowning. Dog owners with pools in their yards need to keep a close eye on their pets. A dog who accidentally falls in—even if he’s a strong swimmer—may not be able to climb out. If you are vacationing by an ocean, lake, or other body of water, the same cautionary measures apply.

Back to Top

Back to Top

Site 'Breadcrumb' Navigation:

Back to Top