They’re part of the family, so of course we want to include our pets in the fun of upcoming warm summer days. Opportunities for vacations, park visits, and neighborhood barbecues abound as pandemic protocols are lifted, but not every event will be the perfect venue for your pet. Keep the following in mind to ensure you and your pet have the best experience and stay safe all summer.

If you are hot, so is your pet.

Staying cool during a heat wave may be a challenge if you don’t have access to air conditioning. When plans include pets, consider whether animals will be limited to the outdoors and how you can keep them cool too.

  • Seek out shade and a ready source of water.
  • Avoid dark surfaces, such as black asphalt.
  • Get a short cut for your pet, but don’t shave them, as this can lead to sunburn.
  • Use sunscreen specified for pets if yours is prone to sunburn.
  • Be aware, flat-faced pets, such as Pugs and Persian cats, overheat more quickly because they do pant as efficiently as other dogs and cats,
  • Consider keeping outdoor cats indoors on hot days if you will not be home to let them back inside.

Avoid taking pets to activities that cause them anxiety.

No one knows your pet better than you do, so consider your dog’s comfort level before including him in activities that may not provide the space he or she needs. Dogs that get nervous in crowds or around other dogs are best left out of neighborhood gatherings or visits to busy parks or beaches.

Remember, most dogs do not like loud noises. Your city fireworks display or a party in which attendees are setting off fireworks and firecrackers is not a good event to share with your pet. Leave your pet home with access to a place they feel safe when the noise starts.

Party food is not good for your dog.

Whether you are hosting a backyard barbecue or your dog has joined you for a picnic or neighborhood gathering, watch him carefully and educate your friends about not feeding him. Most foods at these events can cause gastro distress or illness in your pet.

Avoid foods that can be toxic, including raisins, grapes, onions, chocolate and all sweets.

Visit your veterinarian before starting summer activities.

More outdoor activity means exposure to fleas, ticks and heartworm and the dangers these can cause. Schedule your pet for an exam and be sure he is up to date on shots, flea and tick treatments, and other medications. This also is a great time to talk with your vet about your pet’s readiness for visits or a vacation, especially if he or she is young or newly adopted.

If you are planning lengthy hiking excursions, discuss your dog’s health and physical ability to avoid overdoing it. Your vet may be able to provide a training plan so you can prepare your dog for longer hikes.

Be prepared.

As you plan for walks, hiking, camping, and visits to parks or other homes:

  • Be sure your pet is obedient. If he doesn’t listen to direction, you should consider leaving him home.
  • Keep your pet on a leash if necessary.
  • Remember that many people are afraid of dogs and other people’s dogs may not be as friendly as yours. Allow space around others and ask before approaching them.
  • Take supplies for cleaning up after your dog at campsites and on hiking trails as well as city streets and neighborhoods.
  • Have equipment to keep your pet secure for car trips.


For all your summer activities, plan ahead to be sure your destination is pet friendly and safe. Remember, leaving your pet in a car is never an option, as cars heat up quickly even on cooler days, putting your pet in danger of heat stroke.

If you have questions about pet health and safety in the summer, contact the vets at Lake Cable Animal Hospital, or schedule an exam for your pet today.