Small Door’s Summer Safety Tips for Pets

We want you and your pet to enjoy the summer by staying safe and healthy. Here are some top tips from Small Door’s Medical Chief of Staff, Dr. Jamie Richardson, to prepare you for the season!

Dehydration in dogs

  • Lack of water intake on a hot day can often result in dehydration, so make sure your pet always has access to fresh, cool water. It’s best to limit their time and activity in the heat.  

  • Some signs of dehydration to look out for include lethargy, excessive panting, vomiting or diarrhea, dark colored urine, and very pale or bright red gums.

  • Remember, dogs can still get overheated and dehydrated even if they’re playing or swimming in water. 

  • How to keep your pet cool as a cucumber? Try ice cubes, pet ice cream using frozen bananas, or frozen watermelon (no rinds or seeds)! 

Sunburn on dogs

  • Stay in the shade during the hottest parts of the day to avoid sunburn (10am–4pm).

  • Pets need sunscreen too! Go for a pet-specific sunscreen to protect areas that are hairless or where fur is thin -- bridge of the nose, temples, elbows, and toes.

  • Regular human sunscreens contain zinc, which is toxic for dogs. Safe products to use include My Dog Nose It and California Baby Stick. 

  • Skipping your pet's short haircut and keeping it longer can also help prevent sunburn.  

Hot pavement and burned dog paws

  • Hot pavement can cause pad blisters and burns!

  • If it’s especially hot out, pop on some dog boots, avoid sitting in the sun for too long, and stay on the shady side during walks. Make sure to check on your pup’s paws regularly if they’re walking barefoot.

Sand impaction in dogs

  • Sand impaction happens when pets ingest large amounts of sand over time. This can also happen accidentally when playing with sandy tennis balls, or by eating something covered in sand.  

  • Small amounts of sand may simply pass without issue, but large amounts can cause an obstruction, resulting in severe vomiting that is life-threatening. 

  • Keep a close eye on your pet at the beach and dust off all sandy toys!

Water safety for dogs

  • Always monitor your pet when in or near water. 

  • Pets should be fully vaccinated before any exposure to the water. Introduce swimming slowly and use plenty of positive reinforcement before fully diving in!

  • Use life jackets to help your pet stay afloat and to have an easy grip on them when needed.

  • Finally, monitor if your pet is drinking large amounts of ocean water or saline water, as large quantities can cause salt intoxication.

Summary of summer safety tips for pets

When the weather starts heating up during summer time, it's important to ensure your pet is safe and healthy. Providing your pup with access to cool water and limiting physical activities can help prevent dehydration. For those extra hot days you can even buy pet-specific sunscreen and dog boots to avoid any painful burns. If you ever have any questions or concerns about your pet on hot summer days then contact your veterinarian or schedule an exam.

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