I know it’s getting close to the end of summer, but I wanted to do a quick Summer Safety post for you all!
I’ve heard and read far too many unfortunate stories about dogs getting seriously injured because of things that were definitely preventable. Summer is a really fun time for people who have dogs! Some of my favorite activities this summer have been going to the beach and hiking with my pups. But there are a lot of things to keep in mind, and some times it’s easy to forget the little things.
Here’s a few tips for the dog park, hiking, beaches, boating and cookouts!
Dog Park Safety
There’s a lot of debate about whether or not dog parks should be avoided altogether, but I don’t 100% agree with that. I think you can utilize a dog park while keeping your dog safe, if you keep in mind a few things. Here’s a few ways to make sure your pup can and will benefit from a dog park.
- Before entering a dog park, take a quick inventory of the dogs already there. Notice their size and how they are interacting with the other dogs. If it seems like it won’t be safe or fun for your dog, leave and come back at another time.
- Be careful when entering the park. A lot of dogs will crowd the door, which can be really intimidating for your dog and could result in the start of a bad experience.
- Gradually introduce your dog to other dogs. Let your dog sniff the fenced in area, benches, trees, etc. This will allow them to feel comfortable in the new environment.
- Supervise your dog! I can’t tell you how many times I’ve watched owners stay glued to their phone or were talking with others when their dog was in need of a little guidance. Make sure you are fully present to make sure your dog isn’t being bullied or isn’t doing the bullying.
- If your dog is afraid of another dog, or vise versa, break up the situation. Move them a way from each other to see if that helps first. Some times they need their attention to be redirected in order to calm down, but if that doesn’t help, come back at another time.
This is my hands down favorite activity to do with Lily and Romeo. We have been on countless trails and have loved every minute of it! When I first started taking them out hiking, I some times would forget a bottle of water in the car or didn’t spray them with bug spray. I learned quickly there’s a handful of things you should keep in mind when taking a four-legged baby out hiking!
- Keep water on hand for you and your dog! Don’t wait until your hike is done and don’t let your dog drink from puddles, ponds or streams. Those bodies of water may contain parasites or other things that can harm your pup.
- If you’re going into a heavily wooded area, use a bug spray for dogs. Flea and tick protection is great, but this helps so bugs aren’t constantly bugging (pun intended, ha ha) your dog. You could do something as simple as a lemon water or an Apple Cider Vinegar spray.
- Be mindful of other people on the trails. Not everyone is a dog lover, so keep your dog close by. Keep treats handy and reward them for staying close by when other people pass you. This also helps to associate good behavior when meeting new people, and their dogs too!
- Do a thorough inspection after you are done with your hike. Look for ticks and other bugs that could have landed on your dog, especially ears, belly and back.
Beach and Boat Safety
Romeo LOVES the water! And we always have a fun time swimming in the lake and streams close by, but there are definitely a few things to keep in mind before bringing your pup to the beach. I threw in some good points about boat safety as well!
- Invest in a life jacket! This is especially true if you are on a boat, even if your dog can swim. If he were to go overboard this will not only help if the current is strong, but also gives you something to grab onto when pulling him out of the water.
- Use sun screen. We aren’t the only ones who can be sunburned! You can pick some up that is specifically created for dogs, and apply it around their ears and nose prior to entering the water.
- Some beaches will have sharp rocks or shells in the sand, be careful of them. You don’t want your dog’s paw pad to get cut. Double check when he gets out of the water to be sure.
- Don’t force your dog into deep waters if he’s not feeling comfortable. There’s a difference between gently nudging and forcing your dog into water, watch for their ques to make sure they are doing okay!
- Wash thoroughly when you are done at the beach and on the boat to make sure sand, dirt and little critters are off him. Dry his ears and face thoroughly, as well, to avoid any ear infections.
Cookouts are one of summer’s most beloved events! Food, friends, fun and some times… doggies! If your dog is lucky enough to tag along to some of these outings, please keep the following in mind!
- Make sure your dog has its tags on before going to a cookout. If, by some chance, he gets loose, you will want someone to be able to identify him right away.
- Keep an eye on the grill! Grills will be especially enticing to our pups. It’s hard to resist the aroma of all that wonderful food being cooked but if your dog touches the grill, it could result in a serious burn.
- If you decide to give your pup some food, keep a mental list of what he can and can’t have. Most fruits and veggies are okay but remember your dog can’t have these:
- Grapes and Raisins
- Onions and Garlic
- Macadamia Nuts
- Cooked bones
- Don’t let you dog get into the trash. There will likely be a lot of things he will want to get into that can be very harmful for him; foods he can’t have, wrappers, foil, bones, etc.
- Introduce your dog to strangers. As friendly and loving as your dog may be, new situations with new people can be overwhelming for them. Make sure you take the time to introduce your dog to people he may not know very well, that way everyone feels safe and comfortable!
- Keep your doggie hydrated! Cookouts usually happen when it’s pretty warm out so keeping a bowl of water readily available for them is a must!
I hope this quick guide to summer safety helps you and your dogs stay healthy, happy and safe this summer! We still have a good 7-8 weeks of good weather left, go enjoy it!