5 Essential Summer Safety Tips for Dogs

Summertime brings plenty of opportunities for outdoor fun with your canine companion, but it also introduces several risks.

DOWNLOAD our Ready for Summer? Infographic.

Here’s how you can keep your dog safe and comfortable during the hottest months of the year:

Use Sunscreen

Dogs, especially those with light-colored or sparse fur, are susceptible to sunburn. Breeds like Bulldogs, Dalmatians, and Whippets, or any dog with exposed skin areas, should have sunscreen applied to places like their noses, ears, and bellies. Choose a pet-safe sunscreen like Handy Hound Snout Screen that does not contain zinc oxide or PABA, as these ingredients are toxic to dogs if ingested. It’s vital to reapply sunscreen every few hours, particularly after your dog swims or rolls around in the grass.

Avoid Paw Pad Burn

The hot summer sun can cause surfaces like asphalt, sand, and metal to become extremely hot, posing a risk of paw burns. Sensitive breeds like Greyhounds and small dogs whose bodies are closer to the ground and who might not have thick paw pads could suffer the most. Before walking your dog, test the pavement with the back of your hand; if it’s too hot for you, it’s too hot for your dog. Schedule walks during the cooler parts of the day, like early morning or late evening, and consider protective booties or Musher’s Secret Paw Protection to prevent burns.

Protect Their Eyes

Prolonged exposure to UV light can damage your dog’s eyes. Breeds with protruding eyes, such as Pugs and Boston Terriers, are particularly at risk and might benefit significantly from wearing dog goggles (aka Doggles), especially during activities like boating or beach outings. Protective eyewear can help prevent conditions like photokeratitis, which is essentially a sunburn on the eyes. Ensure the goggles fit well and are comfortable for your dog, with a secure strap that doesn’t slip.

Wear Protective Clothing

Protective clothing is particularly beneficial for dogs that are more susceptible to sun damage. Hairless breeds like the Chinese Crested or Xoloitzcuintli, or those with very thin coats, such as the Italian Greyhound, should wear light, breathable sun-protective clothing. This clothing can cover a larger area more consistently than sunscreen and is especially useful for long periods spent outdoors. Choose sun protective clothing that provide UV protection without overheating your pet.

Avoid Peak Sun Hours

During the hours of 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., the sun is at its strongest and can increase the risk of overheating and dehydration, particularly in brachycephalic (short-nosed) breeds like Bulldogs and Boxers who have difficulty panting efficiently. Schedule any vigorous activity for early morning or late evening and always provide access to plenty of fresh water. When outside during these hours, seek shaded areas where your dog can rest, and avoid strenuous exercise to keep them cool and comfortable. Consider using a cooling vest or cooling mat to help manage their body temperature, ensuring their safety and comfort during the hotter parts of the day.

By being proactive and considering these safety tips, you can help ensure your dog enjoys a fun and safe summer. Whether it’s a stroll through the park or a day at the beach, keeping these guidelines in mind will help your dog stay healthy and happy during the warm weather months.

DOWNLOAD our Ready for Summer? Infographic and keep your pups safe all summer long!

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