The Dog Days of Summer: Basic Summer Safety Tips for Dogs

The coming of the long, hot days of summer means a lot of great things, among them summer vacations! Of course, you want your best fuzzy friend to come with you, but that can make things a little tricky. Your dog needs a bit more than just a great sense of adventure when heading to the beach, mountains, or wherever your summer takes you. Check out our tips below to make sure you and your pet are all ready to have a safe and healthy vacation.

It’s a familiar sight, but not the safest option!

Car Safety

We all know that you should never leave your dog in a hot car – the temperature inside a car even with windows cracked can reach unsafe levels very quickly. But what about traveling by car with your pet? Nothing says adventure quite like seeing a dog with its head out the window, tongue and ears lolling in the wind… but that’s not really the best way to travel long-distance with your dog. In the event of an accident, an unrestrained dog can not only get really hurt but can cause further harm to you and your passengers. They could even be the cause of an accident – distracting you while driving or trying to jump out the window! Restraining your dog in the car may not be the most fun for him, but it is the safest choice you can make.

Cats should be restrained in the car, too. Sure, they look cute all curled up in your lap, but they can be distracting, and if there’s an accident, your fuzzy little buddy will be safer if properly restrained. And by nature, cats prefer to hide when they are fearful or nervous. So as much as they complain and sprout six new legs as you try to get them into the carrier, the carrier is actually the safest and most comforting place to be. There are many low-stress tips and tricks to help acclimate kitty to their new transport chariot, and extra-safe carriers that can even be seat-belted into your car.

There are lots of options for keeping all pets safely restrained in your car – crates, pet-specific seat belts, carriers… the list goes on! Depending on your pet’s tolerance of car travel, you may want to talk to your veterinarian about anti-nausea meds or behaviorist/trainer recommendations. And it’s always a good idea to keep some basic cleaning supplies on hand, just in case there’s an accident!

Water Safety

Dog Life Jacket (
Yep, even a strong swimmer needs a life jacket!

There’s nothing cuter than a dog in a life jacket, and a dog in a life jacket is not just stylin’, but also safe! If your dog is a strong swimmer, then he may not need a life jacket for a dive off the dock, but remember: not all dogs can instinctively swim. Smaller breeds, especially those with shorter legs, or smushed-nose breeds like French bulldogs, may not be able to swim at all! And all dogs, just like all people, should wear a life jacket when going out on a boat.

Sun Safety

Like for all human sun-worshipers, sunscreen for canine bathing beauties is a must!

Dogs need sunscreen too! Even with his coat of fur to protect him, your dog’s skin can be just as sensitive to the sun as yours. Dogs with thin, short coats are especially prone to sunburn, as are those with pink or light-colored skin. There are several types of pet specialty sunscreens available, but baby sunscreen can work in a pinch. Just be aware of the ingredients – some common sunscreen ingredients can be toxic to dogs if ingested! For more information, check out this article for more information about what ingredients to look for and which ones to avoid.

For more information on pet travel and safety, please see the AVMA’s Traveling with Your Pet FAQ and remember to do your research. And most importantly – have fun with your furry friends wherever the wind takes you!

Photo credits:

  1. Bulldog in Car (
  2. Dog in Life Jacket (
  3. Personal photo



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