The DogWatch dogs LOVE summer. Biz the Lab likes to go swimming at lunchtime. Lucy the Pug mix loves to go to Maine to visit family. Nellie the Aussie loves to roll around in the freshly cut grass. And Gizmo the Papillon puppy? He loves EVERYTHING about summer, especially his Friday trips to DogWatch to see his new friends!

In honor of our summer-loving pups, the DogWatch team has pulled together our top 5 tips to help make your summer a perfect one for you and your dog. Have fun, stay safe, and enjoy the sunshine!

Beat the Heat

Two dogs pantingAs much as they love the sun, too much heat can be harmful for our pets. Our Summer Health Tips blog post lists the steps you can take to keep your pet safe on those hot days. Key tips include making sure your pet stays hydrated, avoiding walks on hot asphalt to protect the paws and never leaving your pet inside of a hot car. And when you slather on the sunscreen, don’t forgot to put some on the dog, too! Your dog’s nose and ear areas are susceptible to sun damage, and light colored and short haired dogs require more sun protection than darker or longer haired dogs. With a little preparation and moderation, you and your best bud can fully enjoy those long summer days safely.

Go on an Adventure!

Lucy in the carThe DogWatch dogs love their summertime travels to the beach, the city and hiking trails. Traveling with your pup this summer? Check out our Dog Travels series, featuring tips on flying with Fido, road-tripping with your pup and finding pet-friendly accommodations. Still looking for the perfect destination? Check out our list of dog-friendly cities, including Seattle, Chicago, Austin and more! Prefer the nature trail to the city sidewalk? Don’t miss our post on enjoying National Parks with you dog.

Watch Out for Fleas and Ticks, and Skunks, too!

dog itchingFleas and ticks can be an unavoidable part of the summer months for many dogs and their owners. Flea infestations are quick to begin and hard to get rid of, while ticks can lead to serious illnesses that can affect you and your dog. The DogWatch team has a lot of experience dealing with these pesky bugs, and we’ve shared it in several blog posts. For tips to help you get rid of fleas on your pet and avoid flea infestations in the future, check out this post from last fall. If ticks are the problem, check out this blog post, which includes videos, myth-busting facts and tick prevention tips. As for skunks, they are a problem all year ’round, but if your dog spends more time outdoors in the summer, then he is more likely to meet up with one. If your dog is unlucky enough to get sprayed by a skunk, follow these steps ASAP to rid your dog and your house of the acrid smell. This skunk post is our most popular for a reason – check out the comments for evidence that our recipe really works. Here’s hoping you don’t have to use it!

Fireworks and Fido Don’t Mix

Nellie, afraid of fireworksFourth of July fireworks are a beloved tradition, combining awe-inspiring visuals with pulse-pounding sound to create dramatic, can’t miss effects. Yet while we “ooh” and “aah”, our pets are often more frightened than enlightened. In fact, more than 20% of dogs have severe adverse reactions to fireworks. The number of missing dogs often spikes around the holiday, as anxious dogs run from their homes in panic after hearing the booms and bangs of fireworks. Because of these dangers, experts recommend keeping dogs away from these events, and making sure they have a secure, stress-free place to retreat to once the celebrations begin. For more information on how to keep your pets safe and happy during fireworks season, check out our blog post “Fido and Fireworks.”

Dive In!

Yellow Lab in the waterYou have been waiting for months, and it’s finally time to dive in to the pool! Why not let your dog join in on the fun? Some dogs, like DogWatch office dog Biz the Lab, take to the water naturally, and need little training to get the hang of it. Even so, every dog owner can benefit from reviewing our Pool and Beach Safety Tips for Dogs. The first and most important lesson? When introducing a puppy or adult dog to the water for the first time, take it slow – and do NOT throw him into the water right away! Instead, slowly ease your dog into the water in a controlled environment (pools are great for this), and give him lots of praise and encouragement. Pairing your water-phobic dog with water-loving dog friend can also help encourage him to love the water. This tactic worked wonders for our office dog Lucy, who was afraid of the water until she watched her friend Biz swim. Now Lucy loves to swim, and has become a true water dog!

We wish you all a safe, happy and wonderful summer!