As we all begin to enjoy the summer fun, there are many safety issues we must keep in mind for our pets to keep it fun for them too.

Flea, tick and other parasite prevention- these can lead to health issues such as Lyme disease, heart worm and rashes for your pet so ensure they are protected.

Never leave your pet in a hot car!!! The car can quite quickly heat causing in just minutes’ heat stroke. Often, I hear people reason that the dog has anxiety issues when left at home but I think suffocation is a much worse issue. Other solutions such as rolling down the windows doesn’t always keep the car cool enough on certain days and can also be a problem if the dog jumps out the window or someone steals the dog from the car.

Hot sand and hot asphalt can cause injury to their paws and increase their body temperature. During those hot days, feel the surface to see if it is too hot for them, safer walks on grass rather than roads might be a better idea. Or even an early morning or late evening outing instead.

Trips to the beach can be fun but keep them on the cooler wet sand areas. Last year I saw one owner walking his small dog across the hot sand around noon, the poor little thing was lifting his paws like he was touching fire.  All he had to do was walk along the cool water’s edge or wait till it wasn’t so hot to go across the dry sand, just a little awareness was needed.

Flat beds on pick-up trucks can heat up quite quickly.  Before you put your buddy in the back, check to make sure the metal isn’t hot and remember, the pet is very vulnerable to injury and can jump out causing death.

Make sure they always have access to cool water and shade. Dogs do sweat but very little, and pant to cool themselves off.  Some might even enjoy an easy in and out of kiddie pool.

Sunburns, yes, they can get sunburns.  For those who received a summer shave down, remember to protect their skin from the sun.  Yes, they do like to sunbathe but it’s up to us to put them in the shade when they forget and yes, they do forget to get out of the heat.

Water safety, not all are good swimmers.  As the pools open for the season, dogs don’t always read the pool rules.  They may try to walk across the pool liners and get tangled into them causing them to drown.  Another concern is falling into the pool as they race around and don’t know how to get out.

Around the docks is another issue.  Our own lab slipped into water beside the boats and quickly started to panic in the tight area until we lifted her up and out, not an easy task.

Fireworks- Summer nights are popular for fireworks no matter what the occasion.  I usually prefer to walk my dogs at night when the roads and temperatures are more comfortable for them, but that’s also the time for firecrackers going off.  Always keep this in mind and have your pup secured in case they are afraid and will bolt.  Fearful dogs are aware and listening for the slightest sound resembling fireworks and can be easily set off by any little noise and the panic can cause them to run into car filled streets. If you are away and your pup bolts in an unfamiliar area like a campground, this can lead to an extended vacation as you search for them.
Your dog’s weight- if you haven’t been as active with them during the winter months, make sure you ease them into the increased activity of the warmer weather.  You might have been working on the treadmill to be ready but they may not be prepared for a continuous hike.

Going away- whether they are going away with you or staying home, keep in mind the changes can be unsettling to them.  If you are taking them into a new and unfamiliar area the possibility of getting lost is there until they know where the new home is.  If you are leaving them with a friend or neighbor, again the risk of getting lost is there so make sure they are monitored.  Unless they are micro chipped or even have your name and contact information placed on their collar in case they get lost.  Tags are great but can get snagged and fall off so having the information printed on the collar may be better. 

When I was growing up we had a male dog who loved to run and gave me experience as a search and rescue.  Once he had broken his leash in our yard during the fireworks and did a fast run before we could grab him.  Poor guy usually came back home after he calmed down or I would find by him calling his name throughout the neighborhood, but this time he didn’t come.  The next morning, we were panicking and finally found him, the part of his leash that was still attached to his collar had snagged in bushes and he was tangled and stuck in the woods where we finally found him.

Skunks, porcupines and other intriguing critters can be very interesting to a dog and pose a few hazards so caution on who they choose to be a play mate is a must


Summer is a great time for lots of family outings but always be aware for your pet’s safety and do some planning ahead of the road trips so the fun continues for everyone.



Summer Safety for your Dog