Modern Medicine, Old-Fashioned Care

Jul 3, 2014 | General Health

Ultimate Summer Pet Safety Tips


Always have fresh drinking water available for your pets.

Our dogs (and cats too!) need the same protection and care as we do during the long, hot days and outdoor celebrations of summer. Here are important pet safety tips to remember…

Sun Protection
• Limit time outdoors or provide a break from direct sunlight with umbrellas, tents or well-ventilated dog house.
• Frequent exposure increases skin problems and can lead to skin cancer – ask your veterinarian about the safe sunscreens, like Bullfrog brand, to apply to your pet’s nose, ears and abdomen.
• Beware: Zinc oxide is toxic to dogs and sunscreens containing salicylates are toxic for cats.

Keeping it Cool
We recommend keeping your pet inside, with air conditioning or a cool fan, during the hottest hours. Shade areas also help keep your pet cooler.
Hydration is essential!
Whether your pets are in the yard, on a walk or at the park, make sure they have access to plenty of cool, fresh water.
• Keep a supply of drinking water and a container or travel water dish with you at all times.
• A water spritz bottle with a fine mist is a fun way to cool the face, body and paws.

Never leave your dog locked in a car!
It can take minutes for heatstroke and death to occur. Heat-related deaths are preventable!
• Cracking open the car window is not a solution.
• Vehicle air conditioning systems can fail or turn off if Fido happens to step on the wrong button.

Even parked in the shade on an 85 degree day, the temperature inside the car–with the windows cracked open–can reach over 110 degrees in less than 20 minutes. Dogs regulate body temperature by panting; breathing in hot air will not cool the body properly.


Hot asphalt and concrete can burn the pads of your dogs paws.

Hot Surfaces & Open Flames
• Hot sidewalks, roadways and sand can burn paw pads! Walk early in the morning and during evening hours, or take a short walk in a grassy area.
• Getting too close to grills and open flames can result in burns to the face and paws. Keep lighter fluid, lighters, citronella candles and insect repellent out of reach.

Water Safety
The doggie paddle isn’t a guarantee your dog knows how to swim or wants to swim.
• Use a small baby pool to introduce your dog to the water.
• Always supervise your pet near water; safety fencing around the pool is a good way to protect pets and children.
• Consider an animal life jacket, especially if your dog likes boating with you.
• If lakes, ponds or rivers are a favorite swimming spot, talk to one of our veterinarians about protection against parasites like Giardia.

Picnic Foods to Avoid
Bones and corn-on-the-cob are choking hazards. Greasy, fatty meats can cause upset digestive system with diarrhea and vomiting. Beware of these toxic foods:
• Grapes/raisins – also be careful with fruits that have a pit like peaches, plums and cherries
• Onions/chives/garlic/leeks
• Mushrooms
• Chocolate
• Nuts
• Alcohol