There’s no question that summer and pets go hand in paw. Summer’s relaxed schedule is perfect for long, lazy days spent with your pet doing nothing at all, or action-packed vacation days you’ll remember forever. Whether you’re staying at home this summer with your pets or taking to the road for a dog-friendly vacation, be sure that all the summer memories you make are good ones.
Summer, for all its fun, is also a time with special safety precautions. From rising temperatures to fireworks to thunderstorms, here are a few ways to ensure your pets stay safe by taking extra precautions.
- Never — under any circumstances — leave your pet unattended in the car. Even if you plan to run in for just a few minutes and leave the AC running, there’s always a chance of the engine dying. Temperatures can soar to dangerous and deadly levels within just minutes during the hot summer months.
- Your dog is most comfortable beside you in the house. If your dog is outdoors, be sure he has plenty of shade. No trees? Consider a patio umbrella. Use a water hose to wet down and cool the area where he likes to lie.
- Just like us, our pets are in danger of overheating during the summer. Plan dog walks for the early morning and late evening hours when temperatures drop.
- Take care of your dog’s paws on summer walks. Although your dog’s paw pads are tougher than your own feet, they can definitely burn and blister. If you can’t hold your hand on the pavement for over a few seconds, please don’t walk your dog on the pavement without foot protection. Either use booties especially made for dogs or walk your dog on grass.
- Cool beds provide a surface cooled by internal water or gel. We bought our dog, Tiki, a great cooling bed at our local Tuesday Morning that she enjoys during her favorite afternoon nap (which she insists on taking on the porch except during the very hottest days.)
- Keep your dog groomed during the warm weather months. Matted fur holds in heat (and provides a hiding place for summer fleas and ticks.)
- Hydration is key for keeping your dog cool (remember: they largely cool themselves through panting.) Always have fresh, cool water available for your dog — including when you’re hiking. I love the small clip-on hydration tool I bought at Tuesday Morning that holds my water bottle and gives me a small bowl for the dogs to drink from, too.
- If your dog has a tendency to gulp water (which can lead to serious problems,) look for specially made bowls that will slow his drinking. We have an issue with our dog, Irie, drinking (and eating) too fast, so I was excited to find a bowl with a floating insert made to slow her drinking.
- Like us, dogs love frozen treats to help stay cool during the summer months. Use low-sodium chicken broth, vegetable water, or even a few pieces of your dog’s favorite kibble in water to freeze in ice trays. I found some super cute ice trays that make cubes in the shape of UFOs at our local Tuesday Morning.
- Not every dog is a good swimmer. Dogs with large heads and dogs with heavy coats often struggle to swim. Always watch your dog around the water (including your home pool) and consider a life jacket for your dog if you’re boating or if you’ll be out for an extended time.
- Give your dog a cool place to lie at the beach (where sand can get incredibly hot) and around the pool. Chaise lounge cushions make great dog beds; I bought our beautiful yellow cushions at Tuesday Morning. We all enjoy them beside the pool now, and this fall, they’ll be repurposed as long dog beds for the backseat of my car!
- Don’t let your dog drink salt water during your beach visits (no matter how tempting it is to him due to those fishy smells!)
- Like children, some dogs can play in the water to the point of exhaustion. Watch your dog carefully.
- Look for floating toys to give your dog something safe to fetch in the water. We bought our pup, Irie, a floating toy; its rope handle will make it easy to toss at the lake.
- After swimming, towel dry your dog to help prevent hot spots from developing under his arms and around his collar. I love the special pet towel we bought at Tuesday Morning; it’s lightweight enough for our travel bag (and for quick drying,) while absorbing water and pet stains quickly.
Fireworks and Thunderstorm Safety
- Did you know that more pets go missing on the Fourth of July than any other day of the year? The noise of fireworks causes many pets to bolt. Be sure your pets are indoors before fireworks begin, and that your pets are wearing collars with current ID tags.
- Give your pets a quiet place to stay during fireworks, thunderstorms and summer parties. Many cats love a covered cat bed to feel cozy and safe, or a special box all their own.
- If your dog is thunderphobic, a pressure garment may help. Much in the way that you swaddle a baby, these garments (like a tight t-shirt) “hold” your dog and provide a sense of security during scary times like thunder, fireworks, or even vet visits.
I hope these tips will come in handy as you find your favorite way to enjoy summer with you pets. For even more safety products and advice, head to our We Love Our Pets! pinboard.
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