Summer Safety for Your Dog

Summer means spending more time outdoors, but be aware of hazards that pose a safety risk to your dog.

Many people welcome the summer months as a time to get outside and spend more time with their dog. Here, finally, is the chance to run around in the open, head to the beach or maybe to the park. The following guidelines will help you and your dog enjoy the summer in a safe and enjoyable manner.

Basic Safety Tips

  • Spend some time with him in water so that you can gauge his swimming ability
  • Leave plenty of cool drinking water in shady areas for your dog.
  • Use sunscreen on his nose and ears. Light colored dogs are particularly susceptible to sunburn.
  • Limit your dog’s exposure to mid-day sun. Morning and evening temperatures are appreciably cooler and are less likely to cause your dog physical stress.
  • Never leave your dog unattended in a parked car even if the windows are left partially open. Internal temperatures on a sunny day can quickly skyrocket to 140° plus.
  • If you are flying with your dog, try and book an off-peak flight when delays are less likely and you will be able to pick him up quickly upon arrival.
  • Consider a life preserver for your dog if you’re going to be on a boat, even if he knows how to swim. If he hits his head while getting knocked off a boat, the life preserver could save his life.
  • Avoid parks and lawns that have been recently sprayed or fertilized. Allow the chemicals time to soak into the turf before allowing your dog access.
  • Make sure your dog is fitted with a collar and ID tag in case he gets lost.
  • Consider spaying or neutering your dog, especially if he spends time outdoors unsupervised.
  • If you are traveling with your dog, write down the name and number of a local veterinarian so you know who to call in the event of an emergency.

Heat Stroke

  • Dogs are not as efficient as humans at cooling their body temperature. As a result, they are much more susceptible to overheating and getting heat stroke. Heat stroke can be fatal with brain damage occurring in as little as 15 minutes. On hot, steamy days keep your dog indoors to ensure he stays cool. Also, be aware of the signs of canine heat stroke:
  • Heavy panting, a rapid heartbeat and glazed eyes
  • Dark or bright red tongue and gums
  • Excessive thirst
  • Lethargy, dizziness and a lack of coordination
  • Diarrhea or vomiting
  • Unconsciousness

If your dog shows any of these symptoms, take immediate steps to lower his body temperature and then call your vet. Following these tips could help save your dog’s life:

  • Move your dog into the shade.
  • Give you dog access to water or let him lick ice cubes.
  • Get him wet. Apply wet towels or spray him down. Do not use very cold water which will restrict your dog’s blood flow by slowing down his internal cooling process. Just get him wet.
  • Call your vet.