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Keeping Your Pets Safe and Secure this Summer

Max loves his beach walks, but I always keep him on a leash unless in an enclosed area!

Summer is here and we all enjoy relaxing days by the pool, out at the beach or at a barbecue! As our best companions, our pets want in on the fun, too! Here are a few reminders and ideas to keep your furry friends safe and secure this season.

BBQs: No one loves a barbecue more than a dog looking for some free handouts or droppings! Here are some reminders to keep Fido feeling fine at the picnic:

1. Pack a special dog treat for him to enjoy while everyone is eating. An almost empty peanut butter jar or chewy treats can keep him entertained while the group enjoys lunch. Many pet supply carriers also sell special bowls to slow down eager eaters.

2. When in doubt, don’t hand it out. A lot of ingredients in people foods, such as onions and garlic powder, are dangerous for dogs. If you’re not sure what is in the food, don’t let Fido sample it.

3. Store the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Hotline’s number (1-888-426-4435) in your phone so that you can quickly call them if you suspect that he ate something poisonous.

Heat: A dog’s normal temperature is between 99.5°F and 102.5°F. A dog can suffer heat stroke if his temperature rises above normal.

1. Leave Fido home when running errands; never leave a dog in a parked car, even with the windows cracked open.

2. Provide plenty of shade and water for your pet when enjoying a day outside.

3. If your pet is not used to hot weather or has a thick coat, limit his time and activities outside in the heat.

Since Abby is small, I brought a water bottle with a large cap to double as a bowl for her to drink from!

Swimming: Many dogs love to swim, and who can blame them?! A few reminders to keep in mind when enjoying a day by the pool or water:

1. Know the level of physical activity that your dog can handle before and during a swim so that he doesn’t become exhausted. Also, do not let him swim out farther than he can handle.

2. If your dog cannot swim, make sure that he is separated from the pool area by a secure gate or door. If your dog does swim, make sure that he has an easy exit from the swimming pool.

3. Never leave a dog unattended in the water.

4. Keep a life vest on him, especially when boating.

Rui is excited for July 4th, but I'll need to help him feel less anxious during the fireworks!

Fireworks: Fireworks can be very scary for our pets! If you’re going to enjoy the show, here are a few ideas to secure your pets at home while you are away:

1. Try to arrange for someone to be home with your anxious pets if you know fireworks will be happening nearby.

2. If your pets will be home alone during the show, secure your doors and windows before leaving the house and make sure that they are wearing their tags.

3. Leave a TV or radio on, to create ambient noise.

4. If your pet has a security item such as a toy or blanket, leave it out.

5. If your pet feels comfort inside a small carrier or box, leave it out and open. You can also try covering it with a blanket to create a cozy den and using a cat calming spray inside.

Hiking: A hike or a walk along a new route is a great way to add some variety to your dog’s routine and great exercise!

1. Know the level of physical activity that your dog can handle, especially in the heat, and pick a trail of appropriate length.

2. Bring plenty of water. If you do not want to carry a bowl, try a sports squirt bottle or specialty water bottle with bowl-like attachment.

3. Know the snakes that live in your area. If you suspect your dog has been bitten by one, try to get a photo of the snake for the vet to identify when treating him at the ER.

4. Set reminders on your cell phone calendar to make sure your pet is always current on his vaccinations and flea/tick prevention.

5. Always keep him on a leash!

First Aid: As both a pet mom and pet-sitter, it is very important to have knowledge of first aid for pets! For information on first aid practices (such as what to do if your pet is choking, drowning or unconscious) or what to pack in a pet first aid kit, I highly recommend the classes and resources provided by the American Red Cross ( and by Pro Pet Hero ( Being prepared for emergency situations will help you relax and enjoy the festivities even more. I hope that these ideas and reminders have been helpful. Now, let’s raise our water dishes and toast to a super and safe summer!

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