No dog drags himself out of bed on a summer morning and gives himself a “seize the day” pep talk. One scent of new-mown grass and a muzzle full of sunshine, and that dog is going to do exactly what nature tells him to: unleash.

But no dog parent can be quite so unencumbered. Between the pool, grill, flower bed and mid-afternoon humidity, a summer day can pose as many dangers as thrills to our free-spirited friends. 

But don’t drain the pool or toss the briquettes just yet—here’s ten ways to make sure your dog is safe and sound while he’s getting his summer vacation’s worth. 
  1. Hydration stations. Peak sunlight hours (10am-4pm) can even take their toll on young, physically-fit dogs. Avoid late-afternoon swoon by setting up drinking stations around the yard—or just bring her favorite fountain where she can get to it easily.
  2. Fetch with care. Remember that canines are wired for social cues, and sometimes that means they’ll follow your lead even beyond what’s good for them. Be mindful of heavy-panting during Fetch, and adjourn liberally.
  3. Cold feet. All it takes is a summer storm power-outage or a heatwave at the annual cookout, and the A.C.’s D.I.Y. for the day. Shady trees, kiddie pools and cooling pads can make great, inexpensive provisions for over-hot pets. But whatever you choose, the key is to find a cool surface—those paws hold the only sweat glands she’s got! 
  4. Free belly rubs. Veterinarians tend to see a spike in canine skin and ear infections during the summer. Fur is a natural canopy, of course, but be sure to protect the sensitive spots (bellies, ears, around the eyes) with some pet grade sunblock every 3 to 4 hours.
  5. Surfer fur. It may seem counter-intuitive, but let his hair grow out this summer. A long coat, brushed dry after a bath, will work wonders for your pet’s skin on a hot day—not to mention his reputation on the beach.
  6. Bark twain. Got a seafaring breed like a Retriever, Otterhound or Water Spaniel? A pet raft and a chewy buoy could stir up a few fathoms of fun at a well-supervised pool party.
  7. BBQ for you-know-who. Bacon Swiss-burger biscuits?  Beef bourguignon dog treats? With canine-safe cookout fare like this, no one will even notice when you inevitably mix up the meats on the grill.
  8. Treat hunt. Hide and seek can a great game for a smaller cookout - giving naturally social dogs a perfect chance for some guided mingling. And since you went to all that trouble to make those delectable peanut butter dog treats, you might as well make the little rascal work for them!
  9. Dog and pony show. If your pet loves to put on a show, give him a moment in the sun at your next get-together with a classic, sit-speak-rollover demonstration or a rousing game of Simon Says.
  10. Family feud. And don’t be afraid to get wet! Whether it’s a simple surprise attack with the hose or a well-orchestrated water balloon fight, there’s something about an all-out, family-wide water war that tells your pup—it’s gonna be a good day.
Road tripping this Summer? Stay tuned for our checklist of must-haves for  pet-friendly travel, camping, hotel-rooming and more!

Tags: Cats, Dogs, Pets, Summer

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