Essential Summer Safety Tips for Your Dog’s Activities

Dachshund laying on back wearing sunglasses with a coconut cocktail

Ensure your dog’s safety and comfort with these essential tips for summer adventures, keeping your furry friend happy and healthy.

Ah, summer! The season of sun, fun, and outdoor adventures. It’s the perfect time to hit the trails, splash in lakes, and enjoy the great outdoors with your furry best friend. But before you and your canine companion dive headfirst into summer escapades, it’s crucial to remember that our four-legged friends need some extra care to stay safe and happy in the heat. 

We’re here to share some helpful advice for keeping your pup cool, comfortable, and out of the vet’s office this summer.

Understanding the Risks of Summer

First things first: let’s talk about the not-so-fun side of summer. Yes, we’re talking about the dreaded heatstroke and dehydration. Dogs don’t sweat like we do—they pant. And while panting can look downright adorable, it’s not always effective in cooling them down. Heatstroke in dogs can be serious, even life-threatening.

Here are some signs to look out for… 

  • Excessive panting, especially when inactive
  • Drooling unrelated to interest in food
  • Lethargy – unable or unwilling to get up and walk
  • Confusion and lack of coordination

If your dog starts acting like they’ve had one too many margaritas at the summer barbecue, it’s time to take action!

Dehydration is another sneaky foe. Unlike us, dogs can’t just grab a cold drink from the fridge. Signs of dehydration include…

  • Dry gums
  • Sunken eyes and a dazed, empty stare
  • Lack of elasticity of the skin when you gently pull on the back of their neck

Then there’s sunburn and paw burns. Yes, dogs can get sunburned, especially those with short or light-colored fur. Imagine a sunburn on your nose—that’s how it feels for them. 

And those adorable paw pads? They can get scorched on hot pavement or sand. If you wouldn’t walk barefoot, neither should your dog.

The American Kennel Club has some additional tips worth investigating.

Dachshund getting sunscreen put on inside of earPreparation Before the Adventure

Before you embark on any summer vacation or adventure, a little prep work goes a long way. Start with a health check-up. A quick visit to the vet can ensure your dog’s vaccinations are up-to-date, and that they’re on flea, tick, and heartworm preventatives. You want to make sure they’re in good general health before you whisk them off to do activities that are new and rigorous. You never know what they might encounter on a new outdoor adventure. 

Next, gear up! No, I’m not talking about matching summer outfits, although that sounds adorable. Essential gear includes collapsible water bowls and portable water sources. Your pup will appreciate a drink from something more dignified than a muddy puddle.

Don’t forget dog-friendly sunscreen. Yes, it exists, and yes, it’s necessary, especially if you and your fur-baby will be in the sun for long periods of time. Apply it to exposed areas like the nose, ears, and belly. Your dog might give you the side-eye for rubbing lotion on them, but it’s better than a painful burn later.

Protective clothing, like lightweight dog shirts or cooling vests, can also help keep your pup comfortable. And for those hot pavement, sandy beaches, and mountain hikes, consider paw protection like booties or paw wax. Watching your dog try to walk in booties for the first time just might be worth the investment alone.

And as hopeful as we are for perfect vacation weather, sometimes Mother Nature has different plans. Storms can cause all sorts of inclement weather that can derail your fun and frighten your pup. For additional information on protecting your dog from the noises of storms, click HERE.

Choosing Dog-Friendly Activities

When planning your summer fun, timing is everything. Early morning or late evening walks are the best to avoid the midday heat. Besides, sunrise and sunset are the perfect backdrops for those Instagram-worthy shots of your dog. #GoldenHourPup, anyone?

Shade and water breaks are crucial. Plan routes with plenty of shady spots where your dog can take a breather. And always, always bring enough water. If you think you’ve packed enough, pack more. 

Looking for areas that offer a cool spot to cool off. Find safe swimming areas. Not all bodies of water are dog-friendly, though. Make sure the water is clean and free from harmful algae blooms. And even if your dog swims like Michael Phelps, always supervise them around water. A doggy life jacket can provide extra safety, especially in deeper waters or if you’re kayaking or boating.

On the Trail or at the ParkBack view of woman & dog on mountain hike

Once you’re out and about, hydration and snack breaks become your best friends. Offer water frequently and bring along dog-friendly snacks. Outdoor vacation adventures are often very different from what your dog is used to at home – longer walks, more challenging environments, and more energetic romps. Your pup is gonna be as pooped at the end of the day as you are. 

Keep a keen eye out for signs of overheating. Regular checks can save your dog from a heatstroke. If your pup starts panting excessively or seems overly tired, find a shady spot and let them rest. Offer water and, if needed, wet a towel and drape it over them to help cool them down.

Brush up on your first aid knowledge. Knowing basic first aid for common summer issues, like insect bites or minor cuts, can be a lifesaver. Pack a small first aid kit with essentials like bandages, antiseptic wipes, and tweezers for those pesky splinters or ticks.

Stock your rucksack with everything you may need for an extended outdoor adventure..

  • First Aid kit
  • Collapsible bowls & bottled water
  • Snacks and regular food for mealtime
  • A wet towel in a plastic bag
  • Protective clothing and booties
  • Oh, and you probably pack your stuff, too. 

And if you’re planning a long camping trip with your furry friend, check out The 10 Best Rules for Camping with Your Dogs.

Post-Adventure Care

After a day of fun, your dog will need some TLC to wind down. Cooling down properly is essential. Offer water and encourage them to rest in a cool, shaded area. You can also use the  damp towel to wipe them down, focusing on areas like the belly and paws where they tend to get hottest.

Check for injuries, ticks, or other unwelcome hitchhikers. Ticks love to latch onto dogs after a romp in the woods, so give your dog a thorough check from nose to tail. If you find a tick, remove it carefully with tweezers or a tick removal tool.

Proper hydration and rest are crucial after any adventure. Make sure your dog has plenty of freshwater and a comfortable place to relax. They might be tired, but their wagging tail will tell you it was all worth it. They’ll be rested and ready for whatever tomorrow brings.


If you’re hitting the road or flying to a fantastic destination with your fur-baby,  Traveling with Your Dog This Summer is a great read full of traveling tips.

Dachshund wearing life jacket & goggles on paddle board in waterConclusion

Summer adventures with your dog are a blast, but they come with their own set of challenges. By understanding the risks, preparing properly, choosing the right activities, and taking care during and after your outings, you can ensure your dog stays safe, happy, and ready for the next adventure.

Remember, a little preparation goes a long way. So, pack those water bottles, slather on the sunscreen, and hit the trails with confidence. Your furry friend will thank you with wagging tails, happy barks, and those irresistible puppy-dog eyes that say, “Thanks for looking out for me, hooman.” 

Here’s to a summer full of fun, adventure, and safe, happy dogs!


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