Summer Celebrations, Tips for Families with Dogs

Ensure your dog's safety and comfort during summer activities with essential tips on handling fireworks, thunderstorms, bonfires, barbecues, and water safety.
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Summertime celebrations and safety tips for dogs

Essential Safety Tips for Summertime Fun

Summertime brings summer holidays - often celebrated with pool parties, barbecues, bonfires, and of course, fireworks. It's also time to think about our canine companions and how we can ensure their safety and comfort during our favorite summer activities.

Fireworks and Thunderstorms

Dogs hear sounds up to four times further away and at a wider frequency range than we do as humans, meaning loud, and what we perceive as distant noises, can be especially difficult for dogs.

  • Whether it’s fireworks, or thunderstorms, doing the booming, you can help your pet feel secure and protected by creating a comfortable den, like a properly introduced crate or cozy dog bed, for them to relax.
  • Model calm behavior and speak matter-of-factly to assure them that they are safe, and be sure to keep all identification updated, just in case of escape.
  • If you’re attending an event with fireworks, leave your dog at home and safely inside. Keep windows and curtains closed to reduce noise and bright flashes. Consider leaving the TV on or calm music playing at a normal volume to help distract your dog and help them to relax.

Bonfires and Barbeques

While cookouts and campfires may be fun, it’s important to be vigilant with your pup around open flames, where an accidental tail wag can cause an unwanted and dangerous accident.

Be sure to supervise your pet around fire of any kind, including stoves, grills, and any beachfront blazes.

Water Safety

A dip in the swimming pool is the perfect way to beat the heat, but a little caution and training goes a long way.

  • If you have a pool, whether your dog likes to swim or not, it’s important to teach your pup how to safely get out of the pool. Dogs will instinctively try to exit a body of water from the point of entry. An inexperienced swimmer can exhaust themself trying to climb out. 
  • If your dog is an avid swimmer in your backyard pool, it’s still a good idea to regularly refresh your dog’s memory of where the steps are located. Also, teach your pup not to go in the pool without permission. Just like with humans, no matter how "water safe" your dog is, accidents can always happen.
  • If you’re planning to take your dog to a deeper or open water environment, do your research and consider using a vet-approved life preserver for dogs as a useful accompaniment for excursions into deep, open waters.
  • Practice in your pool so your dog becomes comfortable wearing, walking, and swimming in a lifejacket before moving on to bigger bodies of water. And remember, while hot tubs can be a great way for humans to relax, they are not safe for dogs.
  • Rinse your dog off after a swimming session, as chlorine dries out skin and fur and can cause your pet to itch and scratch in discomfort. This is also especially important after swimming in a lake, pond, or river to avoid ear mites, eye infections, and insects which can embed themselves into dog fur and hair.

Keep Cool and Hydrated

As we would take the extra steps to protect ourselves from the sun and heat, we need to remember to protect our pets as well. 

  • Ask your veterinarian about a pet-safe sunblock, preferably one that they cannot lick off. Dogs can also suffer from sunburn and skin cancer.
  • Protect your dog’s paws from hot pavement by walking on dirt or grass and sticking to early morning or late evening walks. A dog relies on the sweat glands in their paw pads to cool down, and if the ground is too hot, they won’t be able to get relief.
  • Ask your vet or groomer if a haircut will help your dog stay cool. For some breeds, a long coat is a dog’s defense against getting sunburnt and their protection from skin cancer. Additionally, a long coat can keep your pet warmer in the winter and provide insulation in the summer depending on the breed. 
  • Keep fresh water available to your dog at all times. If your dog stays outside during the day, leave water in a shady area, in a non-metal bowl as those can heat up the water quicker. If you’re going out for a run or traveling with your dog, bring extra water for them to drink. 

Travel Time

They call it summer vacation for a reason! If you are planning to bring your dog along for the ride, a few basics can help ensure a safe and enjoyable trip.

  • Make sure your pup is wearing an up-to-date identification tag, is microchipped, or both.
  • While traveling, make sure your pet is properly restrained in a crate (airline- or train-approved, if applicable) or on leash if out and about.
  • Last, exercise your pet before you leave and once you arrive at your destination to help them relax and acclimate to their new surroundings.

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