Nothing says summer like a backyard barbecue or picnic, or a trip to the beach. Fun in the sun might be the order of business for your family, but remember to keep safety in mind, and that means for your four-legged family members too.
No life guard on duty
Most dogs are natural swimmers, but if your pooch has never been to the lake or beach, don't take it for granted that you can toss him over the side of the boat and forget about him, assuming he'll be able to fend for himself. Even a dog that you know is a good swimmer could have problems at any time, so make sure you keep an eye on pets in the water, just like you would do with your children. Don't outfit him with a regular life vest as they are designed for the human physique and could do more harm than good, rather, if you spend a lot of time near the water, consider investing in a life jacket made specifically for your pet, to give you more peace of mind.
Summer picnics and barbecues mean lots of good food, which might be left unattended on the picnic table or grill during family activities. Make sure that your dog doesn't have free access to get into things that he shouldn't, which might hurt him or make him sick. Aunt Polly's chocolate cake can be dangerous to a dog who ingests too much of it, and there's nothing that can spoil a barbecue quicker than a dog getting injured on a hot grill while trying to snatch your juicy hamburger. Make sure all foodstuffs are stored properly, away from inquiring noses, or that your dog is contained elsewhere.
Bring on the fireworks
Just as with children, pets need to be monitored when there are any fireworks in the area. Don't light anything that sparkles or makes noise while near your dog; he might spook and injure himself while trying to get away, or even try to attack the device, thinking he's saving you from harm.
If your dog is afraid of loud noises, it might be best to leave him out of any festivities involving pyrotechnics altogether. If your neighbors set of firecrackers, make sure that your dog has a place in the house that he feels safe and comfortable, where he can't hurt himself trying to escape. Turning on the television or radio might help dispel some of the noise.
Let common sense rule
The best way to keep your dog safe this summer is to let common sense prevail in all areas. Never leave your dog in your car on a warm day, no matter how many windows are open, or how short a time you expect to be gone. Always make sure your pets have fresh, cool water available both indoors and out, and watch for any signs of overheating that might require medical attention. Your pet should be treated no differently than a child when it comes to safety. Be smart, and don't let your summer fun be sidelined by an emergency trip to the veterinarian.
More from Marie Anne: