Summer Safety Tips for Dogs

Not only is it important to keep dogs safe in hot weather, it’s also important to keep them clear from hazardous chemicals and certain foods. Here are our tips to keep pets safe this summer.

By Reader's Digest Editors
Dog Playing Outside© Jupiterimages/

The warm summer months are the perfect time to take your dog with you for outdoor, family fun. But with the rising temperatures, dogs can easily get overheated in the summer, causing them to become dehydrated and sick.  Not only is it important to keep dogs safe in hot weather, it’s also important to keep them clear from hazardous chemicals and certain foods. Here are our tips to keep pets safe this summer.

Plus: Tips for Keeping Pets Clean

1. Never leave your dog in the car on a hot day

Temperatures in cars can rise quickly so make sure to take your dog with you when you get out of the car. If you must leave your dog in the car, be sure to leave the windows down, which will allow the air to circulate and keep your dog safe.

2. Provide plenty of shade

Whether at the beach or at a park, make sure that your dog has access to shade at all times, allowing him to stay out of the sun’s harsh rays. Dogs can get sunburned, just like humans, so make sure he has access to ample shade.

3. Bring extra water

Bring a bowl and plenty of water to keep your dog well hydrated while away from home. Bring double the amount that you think you may need to ensure that your dog has continual access to fresh water to cool off.

4. Limit time on hot concrete and asphalt

Hot concrete and asphalt can easily burn a dog’s paws. Limit the time spent on both surfaces and spend more time on grass and cool sand. Be sure to look at your dog’s paws to check for discoloration, cuts, and bruises.

5. Keep up grooming

Make sure to keep your dog’s fur and nails trimmed during the summer months. Too much fur can make it easier for dogs to overheat, for fur to become matted, and for bugs to stake a claim in the furry confines of your dog’s coat. Keeping your dog’s nails trimmed will help limit torn nails, which can easily become infected.

Plus: Help Your Pet Maintain a Healthy Weight

6. Leave pets at home for firework displays

If you’re headed out to watch the fireworks display it’s best to leave your dog at home. The loud noises mixed with the nighttime away from home can cause your dog to become disorientated.

7. Know the signs of heat stress

The signs of heat stress in dogs include excessive panting or difficulty breathing, increased heart and respiratory rate, drooling, mild weakness, stupor, or even collapse. If your dog is experiencing any of these symptoms, head to the shade, grab cold water, and apply cool, wet towels to the dog to cool her off. Call your vet for added safety.

8. Steer clear of fertilizers

Some fertilizers and lawn care products can cause an allergic reaction in dogs. Speak with your vet about what types of lawn care products are best to use.  Always keep chemical bottles off the ground to keep dogs from accidentally ingesting them and becoming sick.

9. Watch out for picnic handouts

Keep picnic food for humans only and avoid giving handouts or leftovers to your dog. It will keep his stomach happy and healthy.

10. Flea and tick safety

Fleas and other bugs can carry infections and cause your dog to get sick. Avoid bug bites by giving your dog a vet-recommended regimen. Whether its drops, special shampoo, or a simple brush-through you’ll ensure your dog’s safety no matter what insects may be around this summer.

Plus: How to Get Your Dog to Sleep Better

Sources: American Kennel Club, ASPCA, Woman’sDay

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  • Your Comments

    • Darryl Iorio

      The scorching summer heat also affects our pooches in a lot of ways. Another great tip, if I may add, is making sure that they stay in a cool, well-ventilated area. Dogs with thick fur should be kept away from the heat, as they may suffer from heatstroke. Summer is a great time to use our AC units, and having our dogs stay with us in a cool place can help us beat the summer heat.

      • fido

        Don’t let them play with sticks!!! Goodness knows how many throats are punctured by dogs running onto sticks.

    • Mechteld Abelli

      The simplest rule to follow (but not the only rule) is this: if the heat feels bad for you, it would be worse for dogs. Be sure to take care of yourself and man’s best friend. Stay indoors and chill out while the sun is at its strongest!

    • Ethan Rehman

      Aside from the physical health hazards, you have to watch out for the effects of heat on the dog’s psyche. When it’s way too hot, it’s easy for people to get stressed, right? Dogs are the same, so it’s best to make sure they’re comfortable to avoid any problems.

    • Walter Tully

      Summer is a great moment to have fun. Of course, safety is still very important at this time, for everyone – and that includes man’s best friend. In the end, staying healthy all throughout the season is great so you can enjoy yourself without running into problems.