ABC's of Summer Safety Tips

Pet Health and Safety  •  Pam Karkow  •  Tuesday, May 19, 2020

You already know from our Spring Safety Tips post that you need to safeguard your dog against fleas and ticks, but did you know your dog can get sunburned just like you?  Do you know how to cool your dog off if he gets overheated?  Read our summer safety tips so you can be prepared for just about anything this summer.

  1. Avoid leaving your dog in a parked car:  You wouldn’t leave your human child in a hot car, so it goes without saying that you shouldn’t leave your furry one there either.  Read our Heat Safety for Your Pets post for details on how hot your car can actually get in the the summer months. 
  2. Beat the Heat: Dogs can get sunburned too, especially dogs with short hair, white fur, and/or pink skin.  Dogs’ foot pads can also get sunburned when walking on hot sand, blacktop, and sidewalks. Avoid the hottest times of the day by taking your dog out for a walk first thing in the morning or late in the day.  Apply sunscreen to your dog’s nose and ears at least 30 minutes before going outside.  You may also want to invest in a kiddy pool for your backyard so your pooch can splash around in the water to cool off.
  3. Create a safe environment:  Summer comes with a wealth of pests and disturbances that may throw your pet off his game.  Fleas, ticks, snakes, fireworks and thunderstorms are just a few of the things to prepare for.  Keep your dog on a leash when you are away from home.  Check for ticks after walks through wooded areas and never let your dog investigate rustling sounds.  Snakes could be hiding in tall grasses and you never know what kind of fertilizers or pesticides could have been sprayed in an unknown grassy area.  Dogs can be startled by loud noises so in the event of fireworks or thunder, try playing soothing music or turning on the tv to block outside sounds.
  4. Dote on your pup: During the hot summer months, we humans often need a frozen treat to help us cool down quickly.  Why not treat your pup to a pupsicle?  The Petfinder Foundation delivers pupsicles to shelter pets as a special treat, and your dog can enjoy them at home as well.  They are easy to make and dogs love the refreshing snack.  Pupsicles are also a great way to make sure your dog is getting enough liquid, as dehydration can be a risk when it is hot outside.  Always makes sure your dog has plenty of cool water to drink.
  5. Evaluate for heatstroke: Signs of your dog being overheated include panting, lethargy, drooling, fever, and vomiting.  Breeds with shorts noses, puppies and seniors are most susceptible to heatstroke.  If you suspect your dog is suffering from heatstroke, offer plenty of water to drink and take him to the vet ASAP. Read PetMD’s blog post, Heat Stroke in Dogs, for more tips.  Also see Petfinder’s Preventing Heatstroke Infographic to learn more.

Find shade for your outside pet, give extra water, hold off on sharing leftovers...the Summer Safety list could go on and on, but I believe these first five of the ABCs to be the most important.  Have fun this summer, consider enrolling in pet insurance to keep your pet feeling his best and make sure your dog enjoys the season, too!

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