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Summertime Fun and Safety!

Now is a time of outdoor fun with friends, family, and more importantly, our dogs. It’s warming up outside and in some places, it’s getting downright scorching outside. Talking to you, Arizona… 

Just because it’s getting hot outside doesn’t mean that you still can’t go out with your beloved pooch and have some fun. Below I will talk about a few summertime activities and how to stay safe while having fun. 

Hiking

Hiking is a wonderful activity to do with your dog(s), you both get physical exercise and get to experience the beauty of nature. While getting outside you will want to ask yourself some questions. Do I have enough water for us? Is the ground going to be hot? Did I grab my leash? Remember to check the temperature outside, in some places such as Arizona, you cannot legally go on a hike with your dog if the temperature gets above 100. That’s just about every day during the summer. On any occasion that you are taking your pet outside during these hot months, you should protect their feet. Dog shoes are a must for some areas in this concrete jungle we call Phoenix, we have this pair from Amazon. Now you don’t have to get this exact pair but you get the idea, shoes = protected feeties. 

Bring water! Bring more water than you think you will need, trust me, you would rather be carrying water back to your car than be halfway through your hike and run out of water. Dehydration is serious and potentially life-threatening for both dogs and humans. As long as you bring enough water and take plenty of breaks to rehydrate you should be safe. Now, everyone is different so monitor yourself and if you feel you need to stop more often for water then stop. Don’t deprive yourself or your dog(s) of water when it’s hot outside, it’s not worth it.

Lastly, please bring and leash your dog at all times. I’ll say that one more time but louder for those in the back… LEASH YOUR DOGS AT ALL TIMES. The only exception is if you are in a dog park where it’s allowed to let your dogs run. This will keep not only your dog safe but other dogs and potentially other animals as well. It is best to keep in mind that not everyone has a super friendly dog and if your dog isn’t on a leash and something happens then you are at fault. Save the stress and heartache, leash your dogs. 

Hanging out poolside

Hanging out with the family for a pool party is a blast! Nothing beats the heat quite like taking a dip in the pool, especially when fido decides to take a dip with you. Just like hiking, there are some questions you will want to ask to help keep safe. Is there drinking water available for us?? Do I have sunscreen? Does everyone (including fido) know how to swim? Do I know CPR? 

We all know when we need to apply sunscreen to ourselves even if we don’t always use it. But not as many may know that your dog needs sunscreen too. Just like us, they are susceptible to getting skin cancer from too much exposure to the sun. Dog sunscreen should be available at your local pet store and if you can’t find any then you can get away with some baby sunscreens. See more information on using dog sunscreen here. Make sure to follow the instructions on the bottle and you will be alright. 

Again, most of us already know how to swim and we instinctively think to watch children when they are swimming, but we don’t always stop and think, does my dog know how to swim? I’m not going to go into how to teach your dog how to swim, but I will provide information so you can teach yourself. Learn here. Even if your dog does know how to swim, you should watch them like you would a child. Things happen and you want to be there to help if you need to. 

What if something did happen, do you know how to administer CPR? Personally, I don’t have a CPR certification and I know a lot of people who don’t have one either. Thankfully there are lots of resources that you can get online to teach yourself so that if something happens you will know what to do. Read here for dogs and here for people. Now if something were to happen(fingers crossed it never does) you will know what to do. If you do want to get certified you can check out this link to the American Red Cross and find a class near you.

Chances are if you are at a pool in a backyard then you have access to plenty of water and it won’t be an issue for you. But if you are going to be somewhere without access to drinking water just remember to bring lots and lots of water to stay hydrated. 

Backyard BBQ

A backyard bbq is a fantastic way to get outside with friends and family, a time to bring the dogs (and children) together to play, and a time to eat delicious food. Similar to the first two you will want to make sure that you have plenty of fresh water to keep hydrated. You will also want to make sure that you have sunscreen and apply it regularly to keep from getting sunburns. In addition to those simple tips, there are some easy things you can do to help keep fido cool while outside. 

One thing you could do is fill a small bucket with some toys and water and freeze it, then bring it out for them to play with when it heats up outside. By trying to get their toys out they will be forced to lick and bite the ice which will cool them down and hydrate them at the same time. See here for a photo of something I saw on google. If you don’t want to get that crazy you could also just drop ice cubes into their water bowl to make ice water. 

A small sprinkler could also be a good way to cool off your dog if they aren’t afraid of water. This one should be pretty self-explanatory, by playing in the sprinkler water your pup will be cooled off. The only downside here is he/she will probably need a bath depending on how crazy they get in the yard. 

One final thing I feel I should touch on here is “people food”. I know that it’s fun and cute to share with your beloved furry friends but most BBQ food is unhealthy and some are downright dangerous to feed them. Leftovers, grapes, chocolate, candy, pizza, and alcohol are just some of the foods to avoid giving them. You can get some more information from the AKC website here. If you want to include your fur baby in the bbq fun we offer some delicious and safe treats in our store, like these red white and blue pupsicles.

Fireworks

Fireworks can be a fun way to celebrate the holiday and although the loud noises and bright flashing lights are fun for us, your dog might not feel the same way. In fact, fido might find it downright terrifying. If you have a little scaredy pooch on your hands you can try these ideas to help ease their fear and anxiety. 

Exercise them early in the day. People seem to be starting to shoot off fireworks earlier and earlier so it might be a good idea to take them to the dog park or just on a nice long walk before the fireworks start. This will help cut down the number of walks that will need to happen while people are still shooting fireworks off.

Put on a movie or music and turn the volume up a little louder than normal to help drown out the noises. It will also help if you don’t react to the sound of the fireworks. Just act as if everything is normal while enjoying the movie/until the fireworks end. 

Distract them with playtime. Depending on how bothered you pooch is by the fireworks, you may be able to distract them with some of their favorite toys or playing some tug of war to keep them busy.

If your dog is comfortable being hugged you could try something like the Thundershirt. The snug fit has a calming effect on them which will help calm them down and east some of their anxiety. 

Enjoy The Summer

Hopefully by using some of the information and tips above you will have a safe and fun summer. I know there are lots of other activities that I didn’t mention but the same basic principles apply. Be safe, think ahead of time of possible situation you might run into and the conditions you will be in. 

All of us here at Medusa’s Barkery wish you a safe and fun summer! 

*Please note, I do not get paid if you click on any links. I am using them as references only.*