Tiki’s Top Summer Safety Tips for Dogs

Heat stroke, sunburn and dehydration are just a few summer dangers for dogs. Here are Tiki’s top tips for keeping your pet safe.

Tiki (right) and his pal Baci enjoying some summer fun on Hamilton Lake in Indiana.

Tiki (right) and his pal Baci enjoying some summer fun on Hamilton Lake in Indiana.

The peak of the summer season is upon us, and as always, we are busy at the Good Dog Hotel & Spa in Broad Ripple. This time of year, our groomers are giving plenty of awesome “summer cuts,” and our hotel is abuzz with visitors (while their owners are on vacation), and our dog daycare is full of playful energy.

But with all the summer fun, there are also some specific seasonal dangers that risk your dog’s health and well-being. Tiki, our Good Dog Hotel & Spa Ambassador, wants to share his advice on keeping your dog safe. So here they are: Tiki’s top safety tips for dogs during the hot summer season.

TIKI’S SUMMER SAFETY TIPS FOR DOGS

Beware of heat stroke. When our body temperature rises dangerously high, we can get heat stroke. This is most likely to happen if we exercise in the heat, or are left in a car for too long. To reduce the risk, never, ever, ever leave us in the car when it’s hot outside (no, a cracked window isn’t enough to cool us down). And if you’re outside, make sure we have easy access to shade. Also, avoid the use of muzzles – they can inhibit panting, which is our way of cooling off.

Help protect our paws. When the temperatures are high, many hard surfaces become painful for us – they can burn our footpads. These include sidewalks, streets, patios, pool sides, sand and pathways. How do you know if a surface is too hot? Here’s a test you can do yourself: press your hand onto any potential walking surface for about 30 seconds. If it hurts you, then it’ll hurt us, too. Try to walk us in the morning or evenings, after surface temperatures have cooled down.

Don’t forget the sunscreen. Remember, humans are not the only ones that get sunburned. Dogs need protection too – especially those of us who are white, light-colored, and thinly coated. To help us avoid it, apply a waterproof sunscreen especially formulated for babies or pets. Extra tip: make sure you cover the tips of our ears and nose, the skin around our mouth, and across our back.

Make sure we are hydrated. During hot weather, we should have access to clean and cool water whenever we need it (both indoors and outdoors). And you can encourage us to stay hydrated by offering us things like ice cubes, wet dog food, or special frozen liquid treats – like beef or chicken broth.

Protect us from parasites. The peak of summer brings with it all those pesky insects that drive us crazy, including mosquitoes, ticks and fleas. Have a good talk with our veterinarian, and make sure we are armed with the right kind of protection including sprays, shampoos, dips, collars and other.

Be careful around fire. While campfires and barbecues are staples of summer activities, they can also be places of danger. We love sticks, so make sure we don’t have access to burning ones – we might try to play chase with them, which can cause us injury and be potential fire dangers. Keep hot grates or barbecue utensils out of our reach. We may try to lick any remaining food or sauces, and burn our mouth or tongue in the process. And remember to store any lighter fluids, chemicals and other poisonous liquids in safe places.

Watch out for allergies. Potential allergens aren’t just for spring – they are everywhere during the summer, including mold, fleas and flowers. In addition to sneezing and coughing, allergies can cause great discomfort due to itching (and all the vigorous scratching that goes along with it). When you can, keep us away from allergy triggers – especially if you know we have specific ones. And ask our veterinarian if we would benefit from a canine antihistamine or other allergy medication.

Swim with caution. Most of us love to swim – and it’s a great way to cool off and lower our risk of heat stroke. But chlorine can upset our tummies and irritate our skin. When we get out of the pool, rinse us off with fresh water, and try to keep us from drinking too much pool water. And speaking of drinking water, remember that harmful chemicals can also be found in standing water, so keep us away from all those tempting puddles. Just provide us with clean, fresh water whenever you can.

Keep a close eye on us. We love summer road trips and going on exciting adventures. And even though we can’t wait to get out and discover new places, we can also get lost in unfamiliar surroundings. Keep us on a leash, or make sure someone is watching us very closely. At the very least, attach an information tag on our collar. Even better? Microchip us so we are always readily identifiable.

MORE SUMMER DANGERS?

Do you know of any additional summer dangers you’d like to share? Do you have specific examples, and what advice would you give to avoid them? Tiki and all his pals would love to hear more. Please leave your comments below

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