Sunday, June 8, 2014

Keep Cool! American Kennel Club Offers Dos and Don'ts For Summertime Safety

Summer almost here.  With warmer weather and longer days comes more time spent outside with your four-legged friends. But with the fun, comes some dangers that you need to be aware of for your dogs. The American Kennel Club (AKC®) offers the following tips to help dog owners have a safe summer season with their pets.
  • DO keep cool and hydrated. When the temperatures rise, the hot weather can make your dog very uncomfortable, even leading to overheating and heat stroke. Supervise your dog outside in the heat and make sure he has access to shade. Also make sure there’s always fresh water both indoors and out. If your dog does appear to be overheated, apply cool, wet cloths to his pads, belly, and head.
  • DON’T leave your dog in a hot car. Never leave your dog alone inside of a hot car, even with the windows open. On an 80-degree day, the inside of your car can reach 125 degrees very quickly.
  • DON’T treat your dog’s paw pads like shoes. Contrary to what people may think, your dog’s paw pads are not like shoes. Sidewalks and streets can become extremely hot, and even though paw pads are tougher than human feet, they can still get burned by hot pavement. Walk your dog on the grass during extreme heat to keep his paws cool. Don’t forget that hot sand can burn your dog’s paw pads too, so try and take your walks early in the morning or later in the evening when it’s cooler out.
  • If kept outside, make sure your pet has plenty of shade. Remember that doghouses are not good shelter during the summer as they can trap heat. 
  • Make sure your dog has access to plenty of cool, fresh water 24 hours a day. If your dog travels with you, bring along water and a bowl.
  • Never leave your dog in a vehicle on a warm day. Even with the windows open the temperature inside a car can rise to over 100 degrees in a matter of minutes. It’s fun to take your dog with you to run errands, but if you can’t bring your dog inside the store, it’s best to leave him home. Tying a dog outside a store is dangerous because he is exposed to the hot sun and strangers who could be unkind.
  • Avoid strenuous exercise on extremely hot days. Take walks in the early mornings or evenings, when the sun’s heat is less intense.
  • Make sure your dog’s vaccinations are up-to-date. Dogs tend to stay outdoors longer and come into contact with other animals more during the summer months.
  • Keep dogs off lawns that have been chemically treated or fertilized for 24 hours (or according to package instructions), and away from potentially toxic plants and flowers. Visit for a list of toxic plants. 
  • Mosquitoes (which carry heartworm disease) along with fleas and ticks are more prevalent in warmer months. Ask your veterinarian for an effective preventive to keep these parasites off your dog. 
  • Many dogs like swimming, but some cannot swim or may not like the water. Be conscious of your dog’s preferences and skills before putting him in the water.  Always supervise your pet while swimming. 
  • Chlorine from pools and bacteria from streams, lakes and ponds can be toxic for a dog’s system. Always rinse your dog with clean water after swimming. Beware of the wildlife that may pose a danger to your swimming pet. Some catfish are known for attacking small dogs.
  • Many airlines will not ship animals during summer months due to dangers caused by hot weather. Some will only allow dogs to fly in the early morning or in the evening. Check with your airlines for specific rules. Shipping policies can be found at
  • If traveling by car, keep your dog cool by putting icepacks such as frozen water bottles in his crate. DO NOT use freezer ice packs which contain poisonous materials. Make sure the crate is well ventilated. For more traveling tips visit
  • Be aware that asphalt can quickly get hot enough to burn the pads of dogs' paws. In hot weather, walk your dog on the grass or dirt where is it cooler.