6 Summertime Safety Tips for a Happy Dog

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The only thing that makes getting out in the sunshine better is when you can do it with your very best furry friend. Dogs love going outside no matter what the weather brings, but when it's a hot, sunny day, your pup needs extra care. Remember, if it feels hot to you, imagine how it feels to your dog covered in fur. If you and your pup have a full summer scheduled, here are six safety tips for a happy dog all season long.

1. Provide Plenty of Water

When hot weather arrives, keep your dog hydrated at all times with a bowl of fresh water both inside and outside the house. Dogs need extra water not only to cool off but also to help with digestion and lubricate joints, just like humans. A good rule of thumb to follow is to provide an ounce of water for each pound of your dog's weight. Other ways to hydrate your dog are playing under the sprinkler and providing her with snacks like doggy ice cream, ice cubes and seedless watermelon.

2. Practice Pool Safety

If you're lucky enough to have a swimming pool, chances are your dog is crazy about it! Pools are a fun way for Fido to stay cool, but practice water safety! First, make sure your dog can never access the pool when you're not around. When your pool is installed by reliable pool builders, ask about putting up a fence. Always accompany your dog to the pool so he can get in and out easily and doesn't drink the water. For dogs that don't swim well, pick up a doggy life vest so they can enjoy the water, too.

3. Keep Pooch Comfy on Car Rides

Responsible dog owners know that leaving a pet in a hot car can be a death sentence. If you take your pooch for a ride when the mercury rises, keep him comfy. Make sure your air-conditioning is on or the windows are partially down so your dog cools off, too. Ideally, you should only take your dog in the car if she can get out when you reach your destination. Otherwise, it's smart to leave her home in the air-conditioning.

4. Check Dog for Ticks

Warm weather means the appearance of creepy crawlies and that can be bad news for your dog. If you live in the country or go hiking with your dog, inspect her for ticks every day. Run your finger through your dog's fur and along her legs while looking for bumps. Be sure you also check under her collar and in her ears. If you find a tick, remove it with tweezers by pulling as close to the skin as possible. 

5. Plant a Pet-Friendly Garden

If you're into gardening, make sure you use pet-friendly plants. Dogs are curious and are liable to get into anything when you're not looking. Common garden flowers that are toxic to dogs are lilies of the valley, azaleas, mums, hydrangeas and rhododendrons. Check that your plants and flowers are safe before purchasing them. Keep in mind that garden chemicals such as fertilizer, weed killer, insecticides and crushed cocoa bean shell mulch are hazardous.

6. Mind Puppy's Paws

If you've ever walked barefoot on your driveway, you know how it burns so imagine how it feels to your puppy's paws! To keep those precious paws safe, avoid walking your dog on the pavement during the hottest time of the day. Opt for grassy areas or use special doggy shoes if your pet tolerates them. Pavement will help toughen a dog's paws, but wait until it's cool. When you're out and about, also be on the lookout for broken glass, nails and other debris.

Your dog loves the summer just as much as you do, so keep him safe! By providing plenty of water and practicing pool and car safety, you and your dog will have the best summer ever.

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