While the dog days of summer may seem like the best time to bring your pup along for adventures, this time of year requires some extra precautions for canine safety. Heat, sunburn, insects, and more hazards abound in the summer months. You may have to adjust your schedule a little or add a few items to your vacation packing, but these tips will help your keep Scout safe and secure for maximum summer fun.
Tip #1: Provide shade and fresh water at all times
Dogs can become overheated or dehydrated much more quickly than we do. Keeping plenty of cool, clean water and ample shade available is a must in the summer months. Signs of dehydration include a loss of skin elasticity, dry and sticky gums, and a loss of appetite. If your dog is showing any of these signs, get them into an air-conditioned space and re-hydrate immediately!
Tip #2: Protect the paws
Sidewalks and asphalt get hot in the summer—sometimes hot enough to burn your bare skin! Although your dog’s paw pads are thick and protective, they can still be seriously burned by hot asphalt. Try to walk your dog on grass as much as possible, and protect those toe beans by applying Pawtection before walks. If you do encounter some paw hazards, Paw Soother can soothe the pain or irritation and help stop the paw licking.
Tip #3: Take morning & evening walks
All dogs are susceptible to heat stroke, with flat-faced breeds (bulldogs, Pugs, Boston Terriers, and Boxers, to name a few) and overweight dogs more prone to this dangerous condition. In the warm summer months, simply adjusting your dog’s daily schedule can help prevent heat-related illness. Move afternoon walks to early morning and late evening—you’ll both stay cooler and your dog will experience different sights and smells along the way!
Tip #4: Beware of hot cars
Of course, all responsible owners know not to leave a dog in a hot car. But we may underestimate how quickly a comfortable vehicle can get really hot—even in 70 degree weather, temperatures in a parked car can exceed 100 degrees in just 20 minutes! Don’t take chances with your pup’s safety—don’t bring them along if dogs are not welcome inside your destination.
Tip #5: Keep up with grooming
Don’t let your grooming appointments lapse while you’re on summer vacation! Regular coat maintenance by a trained professional will help your pup regulate their body temperature in hot weather. If you own a breed that requires regular trims—such as poodles, Yorkies, and Cocker Spaniels—ask your groomer for a shorter summer cut.
But a word of caution: it’s never a good idea to shave a double-coated dog! About 80% of dogs have a plush undercoat that protects their skin from extreme temperatures both hot and cold; shaving can irreversibly damage their coats. Breeds like Huskies, Golden Retrievers, and Great Pyrenees will blow their coat once or twice a year, with the worst shedding happening at the beginning of summer. Keep up with regular de-shedding at home or ask your groomer to help manage the extra fur.
Tip #6: Keep pests away
Fleas and ticks come out to play in the summer too, so this is the most important time to keep your dog up-to-date on their flea meds. Do a thorough tick check after walks or hikes through tall grass and promptly remove any unwelcome hitchhikers. Other pests like mosquitoes, black flies, ants, and wasps are also more active in the summer, so keep a soothing skin balm on hand for any run-ins—it’ll quickly stop the itch and soothe the pain, so you can get back to playtime.
Tip #7: Be mindful of sunburn
Humans aren’t the only ones who need protection from the sun’s harmful rays—your dog can also get a painful sunburn. Dogs with short and sleek coats, white or light-colored fur, and hairless breeds are most susceptible to sunburn, including:
- Pit bulls
- Chinese Cresteds
Encourage your dog to rest in the shade during the summer, or if they really insist on sunbathing, pack a natural and dog-safe sunscreen in your beach bag! Snout Soother can help protect sensitive noses from sun damage, too.
Tip #8: Always secure your pup
More dogs and cats go missing on the 4th of July weekend than any other time in America. Most of those pups simply were not secured well enough, and took off when the loud light show started! Always keep your dog leashed or contained in a secure area for their own safety and your peace of mind. If your dog joins you on summer trips, make sure their microchip is registered with your current contact info and keep a well-fitted collar with ID tags on at all times—a lost pup can ruin both of your vacations!
Cheers to summer fun!
Whether your pup joins in all of your summer activities or stays comfy in your air-conditioned home, keep them safe with these helpful tips. If we missed any, let us know!