Summer is here and our desire to live our lives outdoors finally comes full circle. Of course, as dog lovers, we will always choose to bring our best-fur-friend with us whether on a hike, out for a bite, or just a nice weekend chill in the backyard. In order to provide our dogs with the very best Summer experience, we wanted to share some tips to keep them safe, happy and ready to enjoy all that everyone’s favorite season has to offer!
Keep Your Pet Cool
When you’re out and about, it’s important to think about whether or not it’s a good idea to bring your dog. Though it is never recommended to leave your pet unattended in a parked car, this rule becomes a lot more serious in the summer time. Cars heat up a much faster than you may think and you will risk your dog dying from heatstroke. The inside of a vehicle parked in 70-degree weather can reach 100 degrees in just 20 minutes. For this reason, never leave your dog in a car when its hotter than 70°F, even with the windows down!
As temperatures rise this summer, be sure to plan dog walks around avoiding the hottest part of the day. Taking your dog out in the morning before breakfast is not only a good habit to have, but is also something you should think about incorporating into your routine this summer, as temperatures at that time are still mild.
Plan your walk ahead of time and try to pick shady routes for walking your dog. Take frequent breaks as necessary and enjoy the shade and cool grass together. It’s also a good idea to check surfaces, such as asphalt and sand, before walking the dog. Your dog isn’t wearing shoes like you are, so if it is too hot on your skin, it is too hot for your dog’s paws and should be avoided completely.
Be sure to incorporate some shady spots into your backyard for your pup to rest and shelter from the sun; this will also stop him from digging holes to get in the cool earth or hide under your deck. If you aren’t lucky enough to already have old growth trees, try growing a vine plant up a Pergola or over a doorway. You can also take on a family project to build a small gazebo the whole family can enjoy. A dog house or ‘tree house’ at ground level can be a great play space for dogs and kids.
If your dog loves water, installing a beautiful water feature can be another great option. A fountain or fish pool can add beauty to your backyard as well as provide a spot for your dog to cool off. Dr. Tracey Hanna, MVB, DABVP, Veterinarian ER Doctor, weighs in: “Generally, a pond that contains fish is going to be safe for dogs, but be careful of algae, which can be toxic.”
Outdoor showers can be a luxurious home addition and handy for both dirty dogs and people. Make sure to create a drinking water fountain at dog level.
“Try not to let water sit if you can prevent it, but in the case of pools or ponds that cannot be drained daily, remember to give your dog monthly heartworm preventatives. Standing water attracts mosquitos which are a vector for heartworm disease.” Dr. Stephanie Magnarelli says.
Keep Your Dog Contained
Make sure you consider how you plan on preventing your pet from wandering off and ensuring their safety by keeping them contained. You can invest in a beautiful fence which may cost thousands of dollars and might be impractical if you have an acre or more of space. Another alternative is an invisible fence.
SpotOn Virtual Fence uses GPS technology to contain your dog. Just walk the perimeter of the desired containment area to set it on a collar he wears. The collar communicates with satellites and gives your dog warning tones if they come close to the boundary and ultimately an optional static correction if they try to cross. With the proper training, your dog will be content to stay in his space. The SpotOn Virtual Fence is very flexible, also. You can create a boundary map for summer that excludes your vegetable garden and a boundary map for the rest of the year that includes the whole backyard. The SpotOn Fence can save up to 10 different maps.
Create a Pet-Friendly Yard
It’s important to select plants that are healthy for dogs, especially if you have a puppy or a dog that likes chewing. Avoid popular flowers such as azaleas, tulips, hydrangea, foxgloves, and wisteria where the flowers and leaves can be toxic. Great dog-friendly options are African violets, aster, daylilies, hibiscus, marigolds, snapdragons, sunflowers, and zinnia. Plants like lavender and chamomile are calming to dogs. Most herbs are good for dogs, and things like mint will even help to freshen their breath!
If your dog is not into eating or chewing plants, you might also consider landscaping with urine-resistant plants like the Japanese Spindle Tree and Burkwood Osmanthus, which is an evergreen shrub that blooms with fragrant with white flowers. (Note that both these plants are poisonous if ingested, however.)
Consult this list of plants poisonous to dogs before heading to your garden center.
If you already have toxic plants in your yard, hope is not lost. “You can prevent your dog from getting near them by putting fencing around the plant, keeping your dog on leash, or using the SpotOn system to only allow them in a certain part of the yard that does not contain poisonous plants!” says Dr. Stephanie Magnarelli, DVM, Animal Rescue League of New Hampshire.
Enroll in Pet Insurance in Case of Accidents or Illness
Before you leave the house, remember to enroll your pup in pet insurance to ensure their health and safety! Like medical insurance for humans, pet insurance can help alleviate some of the costs of keeping your pet healthy. Not only does it provide you with an easy way to budget pet care costs, but it delivers peace of mind! Having pet insurance allows you to choose treatments for your pet based on the best medical option available, rather than being restricted based on your family’s current financial state.
Our friends at Prudent Pet offer coverage for accidents and illnesses, as well as preventative care add-ons. Get a free quote for your pooch at PrudentPet.com.
Have a Great, Safe Summer!
Now that you have all the information you need to keep you and your best friend safe, it’s time to get out and enjoy the beautiful weather and incredible bonding time and adventures that await you. Here’s to a perfect Summer together!