Five Essential Summer Pet Safety Practices
Keep your pooch safe and sound all season long by following these summer safety suggestions.
Chances are, your dog loves summer as much as you do: the additional time outdoors, the new places to explore, the hikes, the beaches—all of it! But, just because your pooch loves summer doesn’t mean summer loves it back. For all the fun and adventure of the season, there are also dangers and safety concerns for your pet—from high temperatures and heat-related risks to pests and bugs. So, here are five summer pet safety practices to keep your furry friend safe all season long:
1. Get Into the Groom
In the summer, grooming isn’t just pampering, it’s essential. If you have a medium or long-haired dog, keeping its fur-trimmed during the summer months will help keep them cool and less prone to overheating. A short, well-kempt coat also prevents uncomfortable matting and provides a lower risk of potential for bugs and pests to stow away and wreak havoc on your pooch.
Along with a haircut, a dog pedicure or nail trim is also a good idea. Trimmed nails will lower the chances of a torn nail, which, if not tended to right away, can easily become infected and require a visit to the vet, which as you know, is no fun for your pet.
2. Keep Your Pet Flea-Free
Speaking of pests. You may already be doing this, but summer is a good time to check up on your pet’s flea and pest regimen. This is an especially good idea if you’ll be traveling to new and distant locations that will also expose your canine friend to new terrain and potentially new bugs. Check-in with your vet before summer kicks off, and with it your travels, and make sure to have a full supply of whatever they recommend – be it drops, shampoo, or a special brush or comb.
And, just as you check yourself for ticks after a hike in the woods or forested areas, make sure to also check your dog! Run your fingers through your pet’s fur with gentle pressure to feel for any small bumps. If you encounter a tick, don’t panic. Grab a pair of tweezers or a special tick removal hook if you have one. Part the fur, grasp the tick as close to the skin as possible, and, very gently, pull straight upward, in a slow, steady motion. After you’ve removed the tick, make sure to wash your hands thoroughly, clean the bite with rubbing alcohol, and rinse the tweezers or tool with disinfectant.
3. No Pet Left Behind
Summer pet safety 101: Never leave your pet behind while you “run into the store real quick” or go out on a no-pets-allowed hiking trail. Temperatures in vehicles during the summer can quickly reach untenable levels and even an RV with the air conditioning on isn’t foolproof. All it takes is a power outage or A/C breakdown for your dog to be in serious danger. Plus, most campgrounds don’t allow it.
Even without warm temps, being separated from you is rough on your pet. They can experience anxiety and act out by biting, tearing, or destroying anything in their surroundings. Keep them close, and when you can’t, find a friend, neighbor, or family member who can keep an eye on them while you’re gone.
4. Protect the Paws
Believe it or not, a dog’s paws are not impervious. Though considerably stronger and more rugged than human feet, hot concrete and asphalt can easily burn their paws. Completely throw out or at least limit the amount of time your dog spends on surfaces like that and opt instead for grass sand, and dirt paths.
If you want to be especially careful, you can spring for a pair of pet paw protectors or some paw protection wax that forms a breathable coating to protect your dog’s paws from the elements during extreme weather conditions. Even with these tools, always make sure to routinely check your pet’s paws discoloration, cuts, and bruises.
5. Cool, Covered, Hydrated
Out in the summer in high temps, you’re likely to get thirsty. You’re not alone. Your canine companion needs a fresh supply of water too, especially during those hot summer days. Pack plenty of water for them to ensure they stay hydrated. A good rule of thumb is one ounce of water per pound of body weight daily. You’ll probably need a little more if the temps are higher than usual. Always be safe and pack more than enough – for you and your pooch!
Speaking of cool, always opt for shade when you can—be it on a hiking trail or while out at the beach. As long as your dog has access, you’re good. Also pack along some dog sunscreen because, yes, dogs like you, can get sunburns, especially when they’re rocking a fresh shorn summer cut.
By following these summer pet safety practices, you’ll help ensure you and your pooch have a terrific summer season—a season that’s all “bark” and no “bite.”