15 Summer Safety Tips for Dogs + 3 Bonus Hacks for Dogs in the City | Pupford
January 3rd, 2024
Filed under Health + Wellness
Imagine wearing a jacket all day long in the middle of July… That’s essentially what our dogs do!
And unfortunately, dog heat stroke is a serious problem and can sneak up on you quickly!
So, in this article, I’m going to give you 15 dog summer safety tips to help your pup stay cool, protected, and safe, even during the hottest days.
And even if you live in a cooler area, you never know where travel might take you…
So let’s get right into it! ⬇️
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QUICK NOTE ON DEHYDRATION AND HEATSTROKE
If you ever suspect that your dog is dehydrated or overheating, find shade (or go inside), give a little water, and give your dog some rest. And probably call your vet!
There are typically very clear signs that your dog may be experiencing heatstroke. Here is a list (not comprehensive).
- Excessive panting
- Inability to move
- Reddened gums
- Loss of consciousness
- Uncoordinated movements
- Diarrhea and others
Call your vet or local pet hospital immediately if you notice these signs. Every minute is important for your dog's recovery.
For more information about heatstroke, scroll down to the bottom of this page about keeping dogs cool!
15 DOG SAFETY TIPS FOR HOT SUMMER DAYS
Before we dive into the 15 safety tips, a quick one-question survey!
1- GO OUT AT COOLER TIMES OF DAY
This is likely the most self-explanatory tip, but you should avoid going out with your dog at the hottest times of the day.
And while you may think that noon is peak heat, the hottest part of the day is typically between 3-5 pm. Of course, this can vary depending on things like weather patterns. But generally, the hottest part of the day is between 3-5 pm.
So, avoid those times!
When possible, try to take your dog out early in the morning. This will typically be the coolest time temperature-wise AND the pavement will be the coolest, too (more on that later).
Evening walks around dusk are also a great time to beat the heat. Or, wait for the sun to go down completely!
When you need to go out in the middle of the day, try to keep the walks short and opt for shady places if possible.
While it is the same temperature (technically) in the shade, it will feel cooler and the ground will certainly be cooler (which makes a big difference for your dog’s paws)!
2- USE SHOES/BOOTS AND PAW BALM
While I don’t necessarily think dog boots or shoes are vital throughout the year, in certain instances they can be!
According to research, asphalt (not necessarily sidewalks, but roads) temperatures can be as high as 56 degrees hotter than air temperatures.
So, here is a quick example of how hot asphalt can be according to one study! 👇
- Air temperature of 77 degrees → Potential asphalt temperature of 125 degrees
- Air temperature of 86 degrees → Potential asphalt temperature of 135 degrees
- Air temperature of 87 degrees (just 1 higher) → Potential asphalt temperature of 143 degrees
Those figures typically hold true in the absence of wind and in direct sunlight.
ALL that to say, your dog’s paws can become seriously injured from hot pavement. And that’s why having your dog wear boots or shoes can be necessary on extremely hot days!
Another step to keep your dog safe in the summer is to use paw balm.
Paw balm can help fortify, soothe, and protect your pup’s paws from heat, elements, and cracking!
Shop top-rated paw balm here! (One pup parent said it made their pup’s paws “softer than a baby’s bottom” 🙌)
And here are a few other quick tips to keep your pup’s pads safe in hot weather.
- Walk in shade as much as possible
- Avoid black asphalt and try to walk on sidewalks and lighter-colored ground
- Walk on grass as much as possible, it’s much cooler than concrete or asphalt
- Try letting your pup follow the lead, they will often be better at finding cooler spots than you are
One more quick tip, the 7-second rule!
7-Second Rule for Dog Paw Safety
While this isn’t a hard and fast rule, it can help you know if the ground is too hot for your dog!
As you go out to walk, place the back of your hand on the ground for 7 seconds. If it’s too hot to leave your hand for 7 seconds, it’s too hot for your dog’s paws.
The most important thing to remember with your dog’s paw safety in the summer is to NOT overdo it. If you’re concerned about it, then just wait for a cooler time in the day!
3- BRING WATER AND A BOWL
While most people do think to bring water, many do not remember a bowl for the water!
Then what’re you supposed to do?!
Furiously cups hands while trying to pour water into their hands while almost dropping the bottle of water while dog stares confusingly at human 😝
While using your hands as a bowl can work if you don’t have another choice, just bring a bowl.
There are SO many options out there!
- Dog water bottles with a reservoir for drinking
- Collapsible bowls that clip to a bag, harness, or belt
- Soft bowls that condense to fit into a pocket
ALWAYS have water available for your dog. And be sure to give your pup plenty of opportunities to stop and drink while you’re outside on a hot summer day!
4- TAKE FREQUENT BREAKS (MORE THAN YOU WOULD FOR YOURSELF)
While our dogs can send messages with body language and other cues, they can’t explicitly tell us when they need a break.
And some dogs (like my dog Scout) HATE the idea of stopping while outside. Some pups just want to go go go, and it’s on you as the pup parent to give them breaks!
While how frequently you will need to take breaks will depend on your dog’s health, size, and the temperature outside, opt for stopping more often than not.
When you take a break, find some shade and give your pup the opportunity to drink water. I also love to give my pups tasty treats while we cool down and relax!
Oh, and while you're stopped, inspect your dog’s paws for any type of heat-related pain!
5- GIVE FROZEN TREATS
There’s a reason you see so many snowcone stands in summer, that snack really helps you cool down!
So… what about for our pups?!
While you don’t want your pup to load up on a sugary snowcone, there are some frozen treat options to help cool him or her down!
Seriously, “pupsicles” are so easy to make you’ll wonder why you haven’t always been doing it!
So try getting creative! Anything you’re already giving your pup can likely be frozen to help cool your pup down in the summer!
6- BEWARE OF SNAKES, FLEAS, TICKS, ETC.
The heat of the summer often brings out more pests and animals.
Fleas and ticks are often at their peak during the warmer months, so make sure you have a solid flea and tick prevention routine in place!
And while fleas can be a nuisance, something like snakes can be a serious danger for your dog!
Before you head out for a hike or walk, be sure to read up on snakes in your area. It’s a good idea to learn where they often hide out, what they look like, and which ones are or aren’t poisonous for your dog.
If you live in an area with a lot of snakes, it may be worth investing time in rattlesnake aversion training! Some areas even offer courses for this!
7- NEVER LEAVE YOUR DOG IN THE CAR
Let’s get right to the point on this one…
You should NEVER leave your dog in a car during the summer months, even with the windows cracked.
Temperatures in a car will quickly surpass the outside temperature. They can literally become a sauna in no time!
If you have the ability to leave the A/C on with the assurance that it will stay that way, you can leave them for a short time. But even that has its risks.
Sometimes dogs can turn the car off accidentally (seriously), unintentionally switch dials on the air system (ie from cool to hot), etc.
Leaving your dog in the car even with A/C on does still present risks!
It’s generally a good idea to not ever leave your dog alone in the car during the summer months!
8- IF LEFT OUTSIDE, PROVIDE SHADE AND WATER
On a similar note, it’s best to not leave your dog outside unattended for extended periods of time in the summer (especially without proper shelter). Actually, there are certain states and countries forbidding it!
If you must leave your dog outside for a long period of time, be sure to provide adequate shelter, shade, and water.
Just remember that your dog has a “coat” on, so they’ll likely be much hotter than you’d think!
Keep your pup safe during the summer by not leaving them outside alone for too long.
9- USE AN ELEVATED OR COOLING BED
Speaking of helping your dog out when they’re outside, try using an elevated or cooling bed.
Elevated beds keep your dog off of the hot ground and allow air to pass through. Just like a hammock for us humans!
You can also try out cooling beds or pads. Cooling beds or pads are either made from special material or are filled with water to help cool your dog down!
Again, it’s the little things that can help keep your dog cool and safe during the hot summer months!
10- OPT FOR SWIMMING & OTHER WATER ACTIVITIES
Just like the kids from The Sandlot, heading to the pool on a hot summer day might be your only option.
If your dog enjoys swimming, going to a nice pool, lake, or pond can keep your dog cool and safe.
With any activity during the summer, try to incorporate water!
That can be swimming, splashing in a small creek, water features at a dog park, or even just putting some water on your dog’s back while out on walks.
Of course, swimming has its own risks so be sure your dog knows how to swim and has other safety gear as needed!
Also, be aware that ponds, creeks, and lakes can have blue-green algae that is very toxic to dogs. So exercise caution!
11- KEEP LAWN AND GARDEN PRODUCTS AWAY FROM DOGS
Dogs are curious creatures who like to explore the world around them. Unfortunately, that curiosity can get them into trouble!
Many lawn and garden products are actually toxic if ingested by your pup. Here are some lawn and garden products to keep away from your dog!
- Antifreeze (not summer specific, but is often found in the same area as other lawn products and is extremely poisonous)
- Like snail and slug bait
- Weed killers, etc
- Some mulches
- Compost piles
While that list isn’t exhaustive it covers most of the common toxic lawn/garden products for dogs.
Generally speaking, any time you use a new lawn product, be sure to look up the ingredients for your dog’s safety. If there are toxic chemicals, don’t allow your dog near the product or where the product has been used for an extended amount of time.
When in doubt, keep it away from your pup!
Related Reading: THC (Cannabis/Weed) & Dogs
12- BRUSH MORE FREQUENTLY
Brushing your dog frequently in the summer provides multiple benefits.
First, it helps you be more aware of and possibly remove pests and bugs.
Second, it helps release excess hair from your dog which can help keep them cool!
At a minimum, you should brush your dog once or twice a week!
In the summer, I try to do it at least 3-4 times each week.
It’s also a great summer safety tip to thoroughly brush your dog after hiking or exploring wooded and/or grassy areas!
Unwanted bugs and critters like to hide out near trees, bushes, and grasses. So, after your pup ventures there, be sure to give them an inspection and brushing!
13- USE DOG SUNSCREEN
While not all dogs will need sunscreen, dogs with very short hair and fair skin often do!
Their skin can quickly become irritated and sunburned when outside for extended periods of time. Using dog-friendly sunscreen can keep them safe and protected!
14- PUT SCREENS ON ALL WINDOWS
This just might be the most important summer safety tip for your pup… Make sure all your windows have screens!
As temperatures rise, we often start opening more windows during the mornings and evenings.
While that’s great for your home, it can be dangerous for your pup. Dogs don’t always have the best perception of height, especially when it comes to windows in your home.
Dogs often fall or purposely jump out of windows. So, having screens can help to deter that and keep them safe!
Generally speaking, it’s best to keep your windows closed if you aren’t home or able to supervise your dog.
But at a minimum, ensure your windows all have screens to keep your pup from accidentally going out of them!
15- KEEP YOUR DOG TRIMMED BUT NOT SHAVED
First note, you should talk to your groomer about the best cut for your specific dog and climate!
Keeping your dog trimmed can help keep them both safe and cool during the summer months!
BUT, it’s important not to shave your dog. Shaving your dog can actually make them hotter. 🥵️
Keeping your dog’s hair trimmed will also make it less likely for critters and bugs to end up in your dog’s hair.
So as summer starts to ramp up, be sure to make an appointment with your groomer!
If you wanna learn how to groom your dog at home, that’s a much cheaper option too! Be sure to check out the At-Home Grooming Course taught by Quinci Cole (15+ years of grooming experience)!
3 BONUS HACKS FOR DOGS IN THE CITY
While these summer safety tips are beneficial for all dogs, I want to give three extra “bonus hacks” for dogs living in the city!
1- FIND PET-FRIENDLY RESTAURANTS & BUSINESSES FOR WATER
Fortunately, the number of pet-friendly businesses has risen in recent years. And while going in for a coffee or snack with your dog is great, they can also be a great resource for water around the city!
Walk down any city’s main streets and you’ll likely see water bowls available in front of stores.
If you can’t find a bowl, just ask! So many businesses love meeting new dogs and are happy to give you some water if you need it.
Of course, just double-check that the business is pet-friendly before heading in with your pup!
2- OPT FOR SHADY STREETS
Living in New York City has taught me that just around a sunny block is often a shady one!
Cities with large buildings create great shady spots for walking with your dog. With enough time you’ll likely figure out which streets have the most shade at certain times of the day.
Try to time your walks to coincide with the shadier times for your specific neighborhood!
3- CLEAN PAWS AFTER BEING OUTSIDE
City streets are often disgusting.
And something about the summer leads to even more messes than usual it seems! I’ve cleaned spilled ice cream off my dog’s paws at least once. 😰
Whenever I take my dogs out, I use a MudBuster when we get back home. I love it because it makes it super easy to clean off dirt, mud, and other grossness but also can cool your pup’s paws down after a long walk!
Creating a habit of cleaning off your dog’s paws will not only keep your dog safer and happier, but your floors will also thank you!
FINAL THOUGHTS ON YOUR DOG’S SUMMER SAFETY
Summer can bring about a whole host of new safety concerns for dogs and other pets!
To keep your dog safe this summer, remember these 15 tips!
- Walk at cooler times of day
- Use shoes/boots when it’s really hot
- Always bring water & a bowl
- Take frequent breaks
- Give your dog frozen treats
- Be aware of critters like snakes, fleas & ticks, chiggers, etc.
- Don’t leave your dog in the car
- If your dog must be left outside, provide shade and water
- Use an elevated or cooling bed
- Swimming and water activities
- Keep lawn and garden products out of your dog’s reach
- Brush more frequently
- Use sunblock (really)
- Screens on windows in your home
- Keep your dog’s hair trimmed (but not shaved)
What’s the scariest thing that has happened to your dog in the summer? Tell me in the comments!
PS- If you’re a new (or not so new) pup parent looking for easy-to-follow training videos, check out 30 Day Perfect Pup! It’s a 100% free (no credit card required) online dog training course to train the pup of your dreams, get started here!
EXTRA SUMMER RESOURCES FOR DOGS
While this article will surely help keep your dog safe in the hot months, here are some extra resources for your dog this summer season!
Dogs get hot, check out 7 hacks to keep dogs cool here!
Swimming is fun but presents some risks for dogs. So, learn how to safely teach your dog to swim with this video! ⬇️
Everyone loves a good BBQ, but will your pup be safe at your next backyard get-together? Check out which BBQ foods are safe for your dog!
Don’t get bored this summer! Check out 25 activities to do with your dog this summer!
Sometimes it’s just TOO hot to play outside… So, check out 20+ indoor exercise ideas for dogs here!