summer safety

Seven Summer Safety Tips Dogs Wish You Knew

Summer dangers to dogs

The fourth of July is a time of fun, enjoyment, celebration, and unfortunately, fireworks. If you are a dog parent whose dog is unaffected by the bombs bursting in air, rejoice! Millions of dogs are petrified of loud sounds and the fourth of July only adds to their misery. Here are seven summer safety tips to keep in mind and share this time of year (and all summer long):


Loud noises like fireworks are one of the top reasons pets go missing, so secure your pet in an escape-proof place. If your pet does go missing, download the ASPCA app for a free step-by-step digital toolkit to help find your pet:

Paws and Pads

A dog’s pads cannot always protect them from hot pavement and they can be burned or harmed. It is a myth that a dog’s pads protect them from all elements of weather. Though a dog’s pads contain much fatty tissue that does not freeze as easily as other tissues, protection against scuffing, burning, scraping, cutting, and hot damage is crucial in summer months.

We use Musher’s Secret a few times a week year round as a barrier on our dog’s paw pads. It is a food-grade wax for dog paws/pads that acts as an invisible boot.  Developed in Canada for sledding dogs, apply a thin coat on pads and between toes, weekly. It dries in seconds and does not stain, is nontoxic, non-allergenic and priced starting at $12, depending on size. Good on hot pavement, sand and sand burn, snow and ice, salt and chemicals.

dr harveys

Bonus Product: We recently discovered Dr. Harvey’s Healing Cream, which is combination of healing herbs in a base of shea butter. This cream is used for minor skin irritations, hot spots, rashes, cuts, sunburn and itching.

dog paw safety
Aren’t Dexter’s paw paws adorbs?

 Dogs are Not Natural Born Swimmers

Not all dogs  innately love to swim and are not natural born swimmers in the water. Though many dogs enjoy swimming, but some cannot swim, and others may hate the water. Never force a dog to swim. If your dog is near a pool or body of water, ensure he or she has a life vests or life jackets. According to petMD, and we concur, never rely on the life vest so much that you leave your dog unattended.
In general, dogs can be categorized in one of the following three areas:
1. Dogs who can swim with a natural ability;
2. Dogs who are not able to stay afloat/survive in water;
3. Dogs who can be taught to swim and enjoy the experience;
Never force a dog to swim if he or she shows signs of displeasure/not liking it. You can can still take your pooch along on a boat, to the lake, or beach with certain precautions in place, as noted.
Dogs are not always natural born swimmers
Shaving a Dog “Down” in the Summer Months Can Do More Harm Than Good
It is helpful to keep your dog’s fur and nails trimmed during the summer months, but shaving pets for the summer can actually predispose them to sunburn and make them more prevalent to heatstroke. Instead keep on with regular grooming of your dog and manage the coat. Coats that are kept well-brushed and mat-free allow for good air circulation through the hair, which in itself can actually have a cooling effect. Think about a dog whose hair is matted and unkempt. The hair prohibits air circulation and does little to help cool the body. Brush daily.
Keep dogs cool in the summer
Toxic Chemicals Lurk
Insecticides, citronella products, and glow sticks are toxic to pets. Keep your pet away from areas where chemicals have been sprayed and ensure dangerous products are out of reach. Additionally, did you know that sparklers remain hot enough to burn skin even after they go out?!  Be sure your pet is a safe distance from any fireworks display.
Keep wagging tails and prying noses away from outdoor torches and candles. You don’t want a lit candle to get knocked over nor a dog to bite into an electrical cord. The outcome can be fatal, so be aware of anything dangerous from a dog’s vantage point or a tail’s line of fire.
Dexter the Cocker is ready to help pets stay safe in the summer.
Dexter wants everyone to take care and have a safe holiday.

Emergency Situation Preparation

In the event of an emergency, have your vet and/or nearest emergency vet number plugged into your phone and know the route to the clinic ahead of time. The last thing you want to do is get lost en route to an emergency center when seconds or minutes count. Plug the addresses into your GPS ahead of time. No one wants to be in an emergency situation, but just in case be prepared.

Vehicles Can Kill

Even with the windows open an inch, a car’s temperature can reach over 100° in 10 minutes on an 85 degree day. This is extremely dangerous,  even deadly, to anyone inside, especially a pet.  Every year the warnings go out, and every year people make the fatal mistake of leaving a dog in the car. Please don’t do it. Even a few minutes can be deadly. Know the signs of heat exhaustion and dehydration (excessive panting, increased heart rate, and weakness). Seek emergency care if a dog is at all in distress.

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  1. How funny. I always thought dogs were natural swimmers. You learn something new every day.

  2. Very important tips. Mom is tired of finding dogs locked in hot cars
    Lily & Edward

  3. My mom would always shave down her dog during the summer months but I had no idea that dogs could get sunburn! This is all great info, I will have to pass this along to my mom.

  4. Pets can be so easy going, it can be easy to forget about some of these essential summer safety tips for them! I know we are always on high alert to keep our dog hydrated and cool during the summer. Being a 200lb St Bernard is hard work in 90-100 degree temps!

  5. This is a great post! So many unnecessary things happen to pets. I will share, I can’t bare to see any more issues come to pets!

  6. Great tips! We’re staying home with Luna this 4th since it’s the first time she’ll be with us for fireworks. Enjoy your 4th!

  7. Pawsome tips! It is so easy to forget that our pets do not necessarily view the world the same way that we do. Keeping them safe is really important! 🙂

  8. Love this article. I hope every pet owner and dog lover read this before the “big” fireworks begin. I can’t believe how many owners take their pets to firework displays and the pets are freaking out! It happens every year. Pets should NOT be there! Even if the pet is not afraid of the fireworks, the sounds alone are amplified to the pet. I’ve witness three incidents in the last two years where pet went missing because they were spooked from the fireworks. Only one was found!

  9. Excellent tips for a safe Summer! Great contest, but I’m a little confused by it. I tweeted, pinned, etc. but it still says I have only one entry – did I do something wrong?

  10. I don’t comment on blogs much, but your blog is so convincing that I couldn’t stop myself from commenting. You’re really doing a great job. Congratulations and thanks for sharing such lovely tips with us.

  11. That was an interesting article and tips are very useful. You mentioned about some GPS – Just wanted to know do you use GPS devices on pets? Is that safe?
    I have heard that some GPS devices throws radiation which can cause damage.
    Now I am starting preparing for my next trip.

    1. No, I have not heard nor read of any research to that effect. Having a dog safe and sound at home would be the most important element with a GPS collar should he or she go missing.

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