Summer Dog Safety

The summer is a wonderful season to enjoy some quality time with your dog outside in the sun but it is also a time that poses a number of hazards to your dog's health. Along with the sunshine and nice weather of summer come insect pests, allergens, extreme heat and other conditions which could potentially harm your dog.

In order to keep your dog safe this summer, take the time to learn a few safety tips in regard to your dog's health and travel safety as well as some general tips for summer activities.

Health Concerns

Fleas and ticks are always a concern for dog owners, but these insects become much more prevalent in the summer when the weather outside gets warm. To protect your dog from these insect pests, use a high-quality flea and tick preventive as recommended by your veterinarian.

It is also wise to check your dog manually for ticks after going for a walk outside to remove any ticks before they have a chance to attach. In addition to the traditional concerns regarding fleas and ticks, the summer is a time to worry about other insect bites, especially bees. If your dog is stung by a bee, remove the stinger from his skin as quickly as possible and thoroughly clean the area.

Observe your dog for signs of an allergic reaction and take him to the vet immediately if he begins to exhibit swelling, drooling, pale gums or has difficulty breathing.

Travel Safety

Many dog owners like taking their dogs for rides to the park or to the beach during the summer for a bit of special outdoor play time. If you plan to take your dog in the car, be sure to take the necessary precautions to keep your dog safe while on the road.

Never let your dog sit in the front seat where he could be thrown through the windshield during an accident and always keep your dog restrained using a leash or harness. If possible, consider transporting your dog in a crate that gives him enough space to turn around and lie down comfortably.

For long trips, be sure to pack any medication your dog needs and make frequent stops to give your dog water and to give him a chance to stretch his legs. Many dogs experience motion sickness in cars - if yours does, these stops will be especially important in giving him a break from the movement of the vehicle.

General Concerns

One of the greatest concerns associated with the summer for dogs is the heat - heat stroke is a very real danger for dogs and it is also one about which many dog owners are undereducated. Unlike humans, dogs cannot sweat to cool themselves off, so they can overheat very quickly if kept in the sun too long.

To avoid heat stroke, make sure your dog gets plenty of water and provide him with access to shade if you are going to be outside for an extended period of time. Keep an eye on your dog for signs of heat stroke such as excessive panting, staggering, seizures, bloody diarrhea and vomiting.

If your dog begins to exhibit symptoms of heat stroke you must cool him down immediately - have him stand in a tub of cool water and wrap him in cold, damp towels or hose him down. Once your dog has cooled down, take him to the vet as soon as possible for a check-up.

The summer can be an enjoyable season for both you and your dog as long as you take the proper safety precautions. If you educate yourself about the potential risks of many summer activities you will be prepared to avoid accidents and to ensure your dog's safety.

In doing so you will not only be keeping your canine companion safe, but you will also be ensuring that both of you have a happy, healthy and fun-filled summer together.