Summer is right around the corner. If you’re like me, I’m sure you’re already counting down the days and planning your “fun in the sun” bucket list. Many dog owners take their pup (I mean, furry child) everywhere, literally, everywhere. Venturing out into the heat on summer days is slightly different from other seasons, so fur parents have to remember to stay prepared! We have put together a nice list of summer safety tips for dog owners to help.
Day Trip Tips
We all look forward to summer vacations, but it’s been the norm to stay closer to home these days. We imagine that this summer will involve a lot of day trips for many of us. Whether you live near a beach, lake, national park, or simply a fun doggo playground, there are a LOT of great tools and gadgets at your disposal that will make your day trip much more successful.
First and foremost, the number one concern when mixing animals (or humans for that matter) with heat is dehydration. Dogs can’t tell us when they’re overheated, so it’s up to us to recognize the signs. Look out for things like a dry nose, heavy panting, or even vomiting. Anytime you are out and about during the summer months, make sure to keep everyone well-hydrated. Even if you are just taking a walk around the block, be sure to go prepared. You’ll want to think through the process even more so during a day on the beach or any extended road trips.
Did you know they make travel water bottle/bowl sets for dogs? If you didn’t, you do now! You might be wondering why you’d need to spend extra money on a water bottle, and the answer is because these ones are magical. Ok, they don’t ACTUALLY possess supernatural abilities, but they are remarkably convenient. They come with a super handy little bowl which allows your pup much more efficacy while licking and lapping. Fill up that bad boy with ice water, so your fluffy human has cool ice water at their leisure, and be sure always to check their nose for appropriate wetness.
We all know that the sun can dry up our insides, but don’t forget about your dog’s outsides! Just because they don’t have visible skin all over doesn’t mean that they aren’t susceptible to sunburns! If you find that hard to believe, just check out this list from Good HouseKeeping on the top 5 sunscreens for dogs. It’s a thing. That being said, don’t forget to bring along the shade. Be sure to pack a high coverage umbrella or one of these cute and fancy dog tents. We know that your animal companion is your ray of sunshine, but we don’t want them turning into full-fledged solar flares.
While we’re body protection, let’s bring up those pesky little humidity seekers known as fleas (including sand fleas) and ticks. Tiny, yet mighty, and both something that you want to avoid. It’s always important to keep up with your dog’s flea, tick, and heartworm medication regime, no matter what seasons it is! In the summer, it would be wise to invest in a sand flea collar as well. If you head to the beach with your fluff mutt, you will want to do an easy sand flea treatment down the spine for extra protection. They even make sand flea treatment in bubble bath form in case you get back home and suspect your pup has been exposed.
It’s a catchy new trend (pun intended) to find local dog groups or search Facebook for pet-friendly meet-ups. Be sure you do your homework and check for legitimacy first. You definitely don’t want to come face-to-face with a dog-snatcher, but this can be a great way to make pawrent friends at the park. Summer is busy, and slowing down for a playdate could be relaxing! You know that your good boy (or girl) will need to get their Zoomies out on a random lazy summer afternoon, so bring on the meet-ups and a game of extreme fetch! You can now buy this well-reviewed toy that LAUNCHES your doggo’s tennis ball further than the average person could throw without dislocating a shoulder. Less work, more fun, for the both of you! Of course, a day of exercise still equals exerting energies, so bringing along a portable battery-powered fan is another perfect cool-down accompaniment.
Dogs are made for walking. Walking your dog is about much more than relieving themselves. Walking provides mental stimulation, physical exercise, and healthy habits for both of you. Warmer weather allows an excellent opportunity for hitting those scenic hiking trails with your four-legged companion! Though dogs were indeed built for this type of activity, you should consider the terrain their tender paws will be coming into contact with. All sorts of ground environments can pose risks. Cement, rocks, and other hard surfaces can retain heat and become quite scorchy. Then there are thorns, snakes, and other animals poo-poo to consider stepping on. Our advice? Invest in some paw protection specially designed with your pup in mind. These shoes by RuffWear are made with breathable mesh, rubber grip soles, and adjustable cinch closure. Do some research based on your needs, and don’t forget to buy four shoes total!
Last but certainly not least is a reminder to never leave your pup behind in a vehicle. It can be tempting to run a quick errand while Fido hangs tight. Even if the day’s heat index seems mild, dogs have a harder time adjusting to heat than most humans. Being stuck in a hot car can quickly become life-threatening, even if the windows left down some. Plan your day’s adventure together without any sidetracking unless you have human company that can stay in a running vehicle with your furry friend.
Day or weekend trips are a great way to breathe in the joys of summer. We also recognize that sometimes you need to get a little farther away. Whether you go 100 feet or 100 miles away, all the above tips still apply. You can find beaches, lakes, and parks all over! But if you plan a road trip or flight this summer, we have some additional reminders and helpful pointers to share.
First of all, no matter how you travel, make sure that your animal’s documentation is in order. If you need assistance with ESA or PSD letters, you can begin that process here. Call airlines, hotels (or other lodging services), and activity coordinators ahead of time to inquire about their specific requirements when traveling with your dog. Keep in mind that there are different regulations for Emotional Support Animals, Service Dogs, and typical pets.
HIT THE ROAD
In general, dogs love car rides. We have yet to meet a pup whose tail didn’t whip into a frenzy at the mere mention. Did you know, however, that some dogs can get motion sickness? You might think it sounds fantastic to plan a serene drive through the winding mountains roads, but your dog’s belly may not agree. Even if your Waze app guides you to drive a straight and boring route, the stop and go of potential traffic can be just as troubling for tummies. It would be best if you did NOT have to clean dog vomit out of your car. Be proactive and get a protective back seat cover for your vehicle, which can also help your fur baby feel safe and comfortable! If your dog has never been on a long road trip before, you could also try some calming treats such as zesty paws. We have heard good things, but always be sure to discuss any dietary addition with your vet beforehand. If your drive is long, make frequent stops to allow your dog to stretch his legs, go potty, and refuel with food and water.
RIDE THE SKIES
Air travel with your dog looks a bit different than it did just a year ago. Service Dogs (including Psychiatric Service Dogs) are still permitted legal accommodations to fly in the cabin with their owners, free of charge. Emotional Support Animals are now classified by all major airlines as “pets” and must abide by the individual airline’s regular pet policies. Ensure you have an acceptable pet carrier as needed and call before booking to understand what upfront costs and restrictions may apply.
ENJOY THE “SEAS”
You’ve arrived at your destination for the next week or two; what to do next? I don’t know about you, but the first amenity many summer travelers seek out is swimming accommodations! If your dog is a swimmer, this is a fantastic exercise for them. The ocean, lake, or a private swimming pool can provide hours of endless soggy satisfaction. Just make sure your pup is 100% comfortable with swimming first! If you are doing anything overly adventurous (such as white water rafting or jet skiing), a specially designed doggo lifevest can add an extra layer of safety assurance.
HAVE FUN RESPONSIBLY
By law, in all public settings, your dog will need to be adequately restrained. So on the topic of travel activities, you want to make sure you have the safest and comfiest harness for your pal. Check that it fits properly to minimize any irritation. By law, in all public settings, your dog will need to be adequately restrained. If your bud is still learning how to heel appropriately, you will want to make sure you have a good sturdy leash that doesn’t retract. This helps to prevent pulling and choking if your dog becomes a bit overly excited in his new environment. Older, well-trained dogs who can wander a little further without concern may benefit from a lead with more slack.
Day trips or extended stays, what summer would be complete without frosty treats? When humans do something fun, we like to spice things up with a splurge or two. What better surprise to spoil your fur baby than healthy, homemade dog ice cream?! All it takes is bananas, dog-safe peanut butter, plain yogurt, and ice cube trays for a super-easy way to remedy the busy, sweaty, dog days of summer. Blend ingredients together, freeze and let your doggo enjoy. If you’re hard-pressed for time, you can also purchase a variety of ready-to-consume doggo desserts in the frozen section of many local grocers.
Finally, don’t forget to document your pawsome summer adventures! These are memories that you’ll treasure furever. Stay present, but do keep your phone camera on “insta ready” standby for those super cute shots. We would love to see what you capture as well! Tag us @americanservicepets to share the joy. You can also find us on Facebook and Pinterest!
No matter which adventures await you both this summer, keep your dog(s) are up to date with vaccinations, have them undergo proper obedience training, and be confident they ready to socialize responsibly before bringing them along. Emotional Support Dogs and Service Dogs are such a vital part of their owner’s lives, and it’s always our goal to keep them together safely.