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Canine Summer Safety!

Updated: Aug 21, 2023

Are you a proactive pet owner seeking practical tips to ensure the safety of your dog this summer? Look no further. This guide provides essential knowledge and engages you in thought-provoking questions to help you keep your pup safe, comfortable, and happy during these summer months ahead.

1. Toxic Plants Awareness:

  • How familiar are you with the potential toxic plants in your surroundings? I have learned the hard way how life-saving this knowledge can be. Years ago, one of my clients' dogs I was training moved to a new house, with a crabapple tree in their yard. Their boxer ate one of those crabapples while enjoying his new yard - on one sunny unsuspecting day, inside of the family's new fenced in yard! :( He died from poisoning from it quickly. - I don't want to scare you, BUT I sure wish I, and they, had awareness that that crabapple tree was poisonous to dogs at the time when I trained them. I hate crabapple trees to this day - I hope me sharing this brings awareness to whomever is reading.

  • My experience - I impulse purchased a Sago Palm - later on in this same day, I did a random google search on them, and I learned that Sago Palms are highly toxic to pets - no warning on the plant about it - which I 100% diligently look for this label before purchasing anything, so I assumed no warning, its safe. - Be aware of the plants your dog encounters - it could save their life.

  • Tip: Familiarize yourself with the toxic plants in your region, or before you bring one home, and ensure your dog's environment is free from them. If you suspect your dog has ingested a toxic plant, seek immediate veterinary attention.

2. Protecting Paws from Hot Surfaces:

  • How do you ensure your dog's paws are protected during walks on hot surfaces?

  • Tip: Consider the "ten-second rule" before taking your dog on a walk. Place your hand on the ground for ten seconds. If the asphalt, concrete, or blacktop feels too hot to touch, it's definitely too hot for your dog's paws. Opt for grassy areas or shaded paths and regularly check your dog's paw pads for any signs of discomfort or damage. Many paw balms are available to aid dry, cracked paws on amazon and in pet stores.

2. Prioritizing Pet Safety in the Heat:

  • How do you ensure your dog stays safe and cool during hot summer days?

  • Tip: Never leave your pets unattended in parked vehicles during the summer heat. Did you know that even on a moderately warm day, the temperature inside a car can rise to life-threatening levels within minutes? Let's prioritize their safety by keeping them out of hot cars. Have you seen a hot dog in a car in distress before, if so, what did you do?

4. Water Safety: Swim with Caution:

  • Do you ensure your dog's safety during water activities?

  • Tip: When engaging in water activities with your dog, be mindful of potential dangers. For example, at popular locations like Lake Michigan and the Indiana Dunes, check the park's website for water safety warnings the days ahead before you go: many parks will update warnings daily. -Algae blooms can make big bodies of water unsafe for dogs. Always prioritize your dog's well-being by avoiding swimming in green or murky waters.

  • Personally, at the beach I always recommend putting a dog on a long leash (20 plus feet) AND using a life vest before allowing him or her to jump into a new lake or massive body of water. Why? you ask -Because the very first time I have seen some excitable dogs run on the beaches into Lake Michigan, I want to GAURATNEE they will recall when asked & hyper. The long leash is a training aid, like the dog life jacket. As a regular there, I know rip tides occur all the time, and are fatal to humans and dogs alike there - especially if in too deep. Just take precautions is all I suggest.

5. Recognizing Signs of Heat Stroke:

  • A heat stroke can be life-threatening. It’s crucial to recognize the signs, such as excessive panting, lethargy, drooling, vomiting, and difficulty breathing. Remember, dogs do technically have 2 sweat glands, but sweating from the paws does not regulate their body temperatures as effectively as sweat does in humans. If you suspect heat stroke, immediately move your dog to a cool area, provide water, and contact your veterinarian for guidance.

  • (Fun Fact - According to, "The sweat glands are divided into two groups, and only one type of canine sweat glands performs the task of regulating the body temperature: Merocrine glands are located in the foot pads of the dog and will be activated when the dog is warm. The apocrine glands are also considered sweat glands and are located all over the dog's body. The apocrine glands will not actually release sweat, but will be secreting pheromones, a means of communication between dogs," ( - just in case you'd like more info on that).

6. Hydration: Keep Them Refreshed:

  • Tip: Hydration is crucial for dogs, especially in the heat. Make sure your dog always has access to fresh and clean water. Consider carrying a portable water bottle and collapsible bowl during outdoor activities to keep them hydrated on-the-go. Frozen homemade dog treats can also be a fun and simple way to help keep your dog cool outdoors.

  • How do you ensure your dog stays properly hydrated during summer?

7. Optimal Walking Times and Shade:

  • Do you plan your dog walks to ensure their comfort in hot weather?

  • Tip: Plan your walks during cooler times of the day, such as early mornings or late evenings. Seek shaded areas along your route to provide relief from the sun's intense rays. Remember, dogs may have reduced endurance in hot weather, so be attentive to their energy levels and take breaks as needed.

8. Preventing Fleas, Ticks, and Mosquitoes:

  • What preventive measures do you take to protect your dog from fleas, ticks, and mosquitoes?

  • Tip: Warmer temperatures invite more fleas, ticks, and mosquitoes. Protect your dog by using veterinarian-approved preventive treatments and regular check-ups. Consider natural repellents, such as essential oils safe for dogs, to keep these pesky insects at bay.

9. Nail Maintenance: Nurturing Healthy Paws

  • Have you checked your dog's nails lately?

  • Tip: Regular nail trims are essential to maintain optimal paw health in the hot summertime. - Long nails can cause discomfort and affect your dog's ability to walk comfortably, especially on hot surfaces. Assess your dog's nails and paw pads regularly, watching for signs of discomfort. Dogs can be stoic when in pain, so ensure their nails are trimmed appropriately. Seek professional help if needed. By prioritizing paw care, you ensure your dog's comfort and well-being this summer.

I hope you found these summer safety tips insightful. By prioritizing your dog's well-being and implementing these precautions, you can ensure a happy and safe summer for both you and your dog, who solely has you to rely on for their well-being! Remember, staying informed and proactive is the key to enjoying the season while keeping your dog protected.

PS- The photo for this blog is of me and my boy, Dante, enjoying the Indiana Dunes (which is one of my favorite places to go with my clients and pets).

Thank you for looking out for your dog and reading my blog today!

Talk soon,



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