Summer is a dog’s dream, with long, bright days full of hiking, swimming, and soaking up the sun. Pretty soon, the dog days of summer will be in full swing. We know how to get ourselves ready for the sunniest time of year, but how do we prepare our best friends? Our summer tips for dogs will give you ideas for how to get your dog ready, and how to make the most of the season.
Turn That Winter Coat Into a Summer Coat
Wondering how to keep dogs cool in summer? A summer haircut might seem like a good idea, but as the ASPCA notes, it isn’t necessary for all dogs. If your dog has a short coat, there’s no need to go shorter, and double-coated dogs actually need that extra layer to act as insulation because it helps their body regulate heat.
But if you have a long-haired dog in an especially hot climate, a summer ‘do can help them stay cleaner and cooler during summer months. Just don’t shave your dog all the way down: a close shave can expose too much sensitive skin, leaving your dog susceptible to sunburn. Opt for a vet-approved trim, and make sure you find a quality groomer who will do the job safely and with style.
Slather On the Dog-Friendly Sunscreen
Dogs with short hair, white fur, and/or pink skin can get sunburns, so it’s important to protect them the same way you protect yourself with sunscreen, shade, and limited exposure to direct sunlight.
There are dog-specific sunscreens available, but some human stuff is okay, too, as long as your dog doesn’t ingest it. I’m partial to the baby sunscreen in stick applicator form because it fits in a pocket and is easy to apply.
Apply sunscreen to your dogs’ snout, ears, and other areas with little coat coverage. If your dog won’t do sunscreen but likes to relax in the sun, try putting an old t-shirt on her for extra protection.
Of course, the best way to avoid injury or illness is to limit exposure to the sun: take your dog for walks during morning and evening hours when sunlight is indirect, an limit time and exertion spent outdoors during the hottest part of the day.
Bust Out the Frozen Dog Treats
Speaking of freezing things: summer is the season of frozen delights! You can keep it simple by freezing beef or chicken broth in an ice cube tray, or get more elaborate with these recipes for homemade pupsicles and frozen treats.
Summer-fy the Dog Bed
There are loads of cooling dog beds on the market to keep your pet chilled while she’s chillin’ on a hot summer day.
For a quick, budget-conscious cooldown that works with the dog bed you already have, try freezing two-liter bottles full of water and placing them in your dog’s bed (just remember to wrap the frozen bottles in a towel to protect your dog’s skin and sop up condensation as the ice melts).
Snag a Pair of Doggy Shades
Not just a fashion statement (though they do make for great Instagram pics), a good pair of dog sunglasses are a must if you plan on outdoor activities with your dog this summer.
Doggles makes a variety of cute colors, all with 100% UV protection to keep sensitive dog eyes safe and stylin’ on a hot summer day.
Protect Paws from Hot Pavement
If you take your city dog on walks across potentially scalding concrete, pick up a pair of dog shoes for summer. These breathable mesh booties with nonskid soles will keep those cute padded feet cool and protected.
Keep Your Boat Dog Buoyed with a Life Jacket
Summer is the season for kayaking, rafting, and boat trips of all kinds, and adventurous dogs love a little time on the water. But even if your dog is a strong swimmer, water can be unpredictable, so it’s essential to invest in a quality float jacket to keep them safe.
Gear Up for Summer Hikes and Camping
Summer is a great time to take a hike with your dog, and you don’t need much more than a knapsack, sunscreen, and plenty of water to get started. But if you want to get serious with your summer hiking, consider investing in a camping kit for your best friend.
A dog backpack is a great way to give your best friend a job to do while letting her carry her own supplies for the trip. Just be sure to let your dog get used to wearing it around the house, and gradually add weight to help her gain comfort and strength in carrying a pack, before hitting the trail.
Whatever You Do, Stay Hydrated
If we can impart just one essential summertime tip for dogs, it’s this: make sure your dog is drinking water, and plenty of it.
Dehydration can be deadly for dogs, and summer heat paired with summer fun can be a dangerous combination if your dog isn’t properly hydrated.
Whatever fun summer activities you get up to, be sure to keep plenty of cool, clean water nearby. Pick up a portable water bowl or one of these water bottle/bowl combos for easy access, and make sure you take plenty of water and rest breaks during your summertime fun.
Do you have a favorite summer activity to do with your dog? Let us know in the comments, and get out there and enjoy yourself. After all, they don’t call them the dog days for nothing!