We’ve been talking about summer safety stuff here at SafeStreetsUSA, like how home automation can help make for a more comfortable summer, safer road trips, and swimming pool safety tips. But we’ve neglected an important member of the family in all of this summer safety talk: the dogs!
Let’s remedy that right now with five summer safety tips for that four-legged friend.
Most (if not all) summer safety advice for your dogs is related to the heat of summer. So the biggest tip of all is to take the heat into consideration every day, when you’re letting the dog out, planning a trip to the store, or going for a walk. And note that although the advice below is geared toward dogs, much of it applies to your feline friends as well…
Tip 1: Water, water, water
Make sure your dog has access to plenty of water all the time. At our house, because our two of our cats tend to spend a lot of time outside, we have two water bowls during the summer: one inside the house and one outside. Our dog is rarely left outside unattended but if he does go out for a bit on his own, he can access that water too.
We’ve also started keeping a milk jug full of water in the car along with a plastic bowl so when the dog goes somewhere with us, we can easily make sure he is staying hydrated.
Tip 2: Never ever EVER leave your dog in the car
Speaking of the car, our dog is not left in the car in the summer, period. He only goes in the car if he can get out of it when we get where we’re going. Leaving your dog in the car on a hot day for even a few minutes is just too dangerous to risk it. It might feel like a pleasant 70 degree day outside, but inside the car is probably 90 degrees. And on a hot day like 85 degrees, the interior of your car can heat up to 102 degrees in just 10 minutes. Within 30 minutes, that temperature can climb to 120 degrees! (Temperature data from the ASPCA)
This is such a serious issue that many states are now making it illegal to leave a dog in a car.
Sadly, just the other day my mother was leaving the vet’s office when a young man came in holding a limp puppy. The puppy had been left in a hot car and looked lifeless. The vet told my mother it might live but–if it did–it would never be quite right in the head because of the damage done by the heat.
Tip 3: Follow the sun to ensure there’s shade
I’ve seen people leave their dogs outside in the morning with plenty of shade, not realizing that shade would disappear as the day went along. Make sure your dog has shade all day long as the sun moves across the sky.
Tip 4: Be mindful about your walks
Take the heat into account when planning for your walks. Our dog is a big dog and getting older. He seems to have a harder time with the heat these days as a result, so our walks have to take place late in the evening when the weather has cooled. This also helps us to avoid the hot asphalt that would otherwise burn the bottoms of his feet. It’s not always convenient to do it later in the day, and he doesn’t understand why he has to wait so long for that walk, but it means the heat isn’t an issue for him or his paws.
Tip 5: Make sound decisions
In my experience, a dog will often put up with discomfort to be near his or her people, so you can’t trust the dog to know whether it’s too hot and act accordingly. That means you need to make sound decisions about the dog’s exposure to heat, sun, water, exercise, asphalt, etc. to help your furry friend handle the heat in the best possible way while still being right where he or she wants to be….right by your side.