Enjoy the Summer Safely with your Dog
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Enjoy the Summer Safely with your Dog

Summer is a wonderful time to have a dog. Dogs love to be outdoors and the summer sunshine makes it equally inviting to their humans. However, it’s important to remember that dogs are very sensitive to the summer heat as they can’t sweat to keep cool the way that we can. There are also other risks involved with summer activities. Make sure you know how to keep your dog safe so you can both have a fun summer.

Most owners know that leaving your dog in a hot car is dangerous and inhumane, but it bears repeating. Temperatures inside a car get very hot very fast on a hot summer day and they put your dog at risk of heat stroke. Even with the windows down, a car’s interior can quickly reach over 100 degrees. You should never leave your dog in the car on a warm day without the air conditioning actively running.

Hot pavement is another risk factor to your dog. Although their feet have calluses and are tougher than ours, they still can get badly burned from hot pavement. The best time to walk your dog on a hot day is early in the morning or in the evening when the sun is lower and temperatures are not at their peak. If you aren’t sure whether the pavement is too hot for your dog, try placing the back of your hand on the pavement. If you can’t hold it there comfortably for 8-10 seconds, then it’s too hot for your pup and you should skip your walk or take them into a grassy field or woods where the ground won’t be so hot.

Swimming is a great way for your dog to keep cool on a hot day. Just make sure that when they swim you remove training collars and harnesses which can get caught on sticks and debris in lakes and ponds and put your dog at risk of drowning. Make sure your dog knows how to swim as not all dogs do, and if they are off leash in a non-fenced area you should be sure they have a very reliable recall so they don’t wander off.

If you take your dog boating, make sure that they wear a life jacket. The best doggy life jackets have handles on their backs so that you can easily pull your dog out of the water if they fall or jump in. Check out Ruffwear’s K-9 Float Coat, that has a 5 star rating.

Fleas and ticks can be at their worst in the summer. Make sure that when you are enjoying outdoor activities you and your dog are both protected with repellants. Going through your dog’s coat with a fine comb can help to locate ticks before they bite, and make sure that you check yourself thoroughly for ticks as well after time in the woods or tall grass. If you are in the Metrowest area, be sure to visit Pet World in Natick for a great selection of all your summer supplies.

If you have a busy day and want your dog to enjoy a fun activity in your fenced-in yard on their own, you can try freezing some of their favorite toys in a mixture of chicken broth and water in a large bowl. It’s fun and refreshing for them to lick at the ice and free their toys as they go.

Take advantage of the warm summer weather, get out and be active with your dog!