the aspca reminds us about summer safety for pets: the top 5 summer hazards

With good reason, we often focus our pet safety efforts around 4th of July celebrations. The threat is real, as more pets go missing on that day of the year than any other. They flee because they are frightened and don't understand the loud noises from fireworks and the like. In addition to Independence Day dangers, summer, as a whole, can be a dangerous time for pets, so there are other summer hazards we need to consider. The ASPCA has created an infographic outlining the top five. 

The ASPCA reminds us of the top five summer hazards for pets. Please keep your pets safe this season!

The ASPCA reminds us of the top five summer hazards for pets. Please keep your pets safe this season!

consider your particular climate and protect your pets from summer hazards

Here in Phoenix, Arizona, where temps commonly reach over 110° throughout the summer, we take special care to make sure our pets are safe. Though the extreme heat may seem more hazardous to our pets (and it can be if we don't take precautions), sometimes I think the extreme heat is a benefit. We don't mess around. There is NO QUESTION that our pets should not be left in a car or stand on concrete that can burn your skin off in a matter of seconds. Responsible pet owners keep their pets indoors, keep them well hydrated, and keep them protected.

In other regions, where it gets hot, but to a lesser degree, pets may be in even more danger. We may not think it's hazardous to keep Fido outside for an all-day celebration in 85° weather, but, in reality, he can become distressed and dehydrated quickly.

It's important to be mindful of your particular climate and know how it will affect your pets. Take all necessary precautions, as your pets are depending on you. 

How do you keep your pets safe during the summer?

10 activities to keep your kid and dog occupied this summer

Has summer boredom set in, yet? Are your kid and dog staring at each other looking for something to do? Look no further. Summer is a great time for kids and dogs to play together, and we've come up with some  activity suggestions!

10 activities to keep your kid and dog occupied this summer

1. Enjoy outdoor dining. Whether you choose an at-home BBQ or a pet-friendly restaurant, summer is a great time to take advantage of outdoor dining. Most restaurants that accommodate pets will bring your pooch a bowl of water, and some even have doggie menus! Kids have a great time eating out with their dogs. They can provide each other with entertainment while you wait for your food.

Dogs and kids love to eat out.

Dogs and kids love to eat out.

2. Paint with water. Painting with water is cheap and easy and can provide hours of fun. All you need is a cup of water and a paintbrush. Your kid can go to town on the patio or sidewalk, and your pooch can cool his paws and make footprints. My daughter absolutely loves this activity. And it doesn't make a mess like paints! 

3. Do crafts. Get your dog involved in summer crafts. Decorate a collar with felt flowers or buttons (make sure they are secure). Press your pooch's paw into a clay piece that your child can paint. Decorate a dog bowl with food-safe paints. If you're feeling really brave, roll out a long sheet of paper or poster board, let your kid and dog walk in paint, then make footprints across the paper. You may end up with a framable masterpiece!

4. Make frozen treats. Make popsicles AND pupsicles. Juice and fruit chunks work great for the kids. For your pooch, you can use a regular popsicle mold, a bowl, or even a kong. As for flavors? Chicken broth with kibble chips, plain yogurt with peanut butter, or even water with chicken bits frozen inside make great pupsicles! Your child will have fun making them and reaping the rewards with your pooch.

5. Go hiking or geocaching. In most parts of the country, summer is a great time to enjoy nature. Explore local hiking trails or take up geocaching, GPS-guided "treasure hunts." Your kids and your dog will love the adventure!

Go hiking or geocaching.

Go hiking or geocaching.

6. Go swimming or wading. Kids love swimming, and many dogs do, too! Make sure dogs and kids are both comfortable in the water before allowing them to swim together and aways keep safety first. No pool? Get yourself an inexpensive wading pool and let your kids and fur kids splash around to cool off. 

Chillin' poolside.

Chillin' poolside.

7. Run through the sprinklers. As long as you aren't in a drought zone, running through the sprinklers is an awesome way for kids and pets to cool off together and can provide great exercise, too. Here in Arizona, most of us don't have sprinklers, so we use the garden hose as an alternative. There are even hose attachments specifically designed for this purpose to make things more fun.

8. Find a dog-friendly beach or park. Pet-friendly beaches can be hard to find, but they're out there. Play time by the lake is also a good option. No water nearby? Hit a dog-friendly park. Bring your frisbee and a picnic lunch, and don't forget your doo-doo bags!

Find a dog-friendly beach or park.

Find a dog-friendly beach or park.

9. Go camping. Kids and pets love the adventure of camping, and many campsites are pet friendly. Enjoy day hikes or just hanging out together enjoying the outdoors. Be sure to remember bowls and food for your pet, as well as a place for him to lay both during the day and for sleeping at night. 

10. Vacation at a pet-friendly hotel. More and more hotels are now accommodating pets, some even making special provisions for them such as pet beds and doggie room service menus. Your kids will love being able to vacation with Fido. You'll need to research policies, because some accommodations do not allow a pet to be left unattended in the room, and some have size restrictions. You may incur an additional fee, but living the high life with your pooch is worth it, right?

Here in Phoenix, we have to be careful with ourselves and our pets during the summer months. Temps can rise up to 120° during the hottest part of the day, so we tend to limit outdoor activities to the early mornings or evenings. In other parts of the country, there may be other conditions to think about. Consider your climate when making activity choices, and consider safety. 

safety tips

Always make sure your kids and dogs are well hydrated. Even when swimming, your dog can become dehydrated, so be sure to provide a fresh bowl of water before, during, and after any activity.

Avoid the hottest part of the day, and keep in mind that your dog's paws are sensitive to the hot ground. If it's too hot for you to walk barefoot, then your pet shouldn't, either. 

Wear sunscreen! Kids AND dogs should wear sunscreen when outdoors for a prolonged period. Light-colored and short-haired breeds especially need protection. Special attention should be paid to areas of the skin not covered in fur. Use a pet-safe sunscreen in case your pooch decides to lick the area where it is applied.

Dogs with sort muzzles such as pugs and bulldogs are more prone to heatstroke due to the fact that it is harder for them to breathe. This can be made worse by hot temperatures, so take special caution not to overexert these dogs.

Always supervise children and pets around water.

Please pick up after your pooch. Aside from just being gross, poo left behind is unhealthy. Plus, when people leave their dog's "presents" behind, places are less-likely remain be pet-friendly.

Above all, have a blast summering it up!! How to you plan to keep your kid and dog occupied this summer?

This article, written by me, originally appeared on Brie Brie Blooms and is reposted here with minor changes with permission.


dogs ruin everything

Ah...summertime in AZ. It's akin to winter in Wisconsin, I presume. Time outdoors is very limited. In Wisconsin, mortals might venture out for a bit of ice skating during the harsh season. Here, when the temps reach 110º, the only acceptable outdoor activity is swimming. 

Our family does a lot of swimming.

Our dog, N.A.S.H.A., hates swimming, but she absolutely loves to be splashed by the water. Somehow she has learned the difference between street clothes and a bathing suit, so anytime any of us suit up, she gets super excited at the prospect of running around the pool bat shit crazy while we splash her and she starts jumping up on us in anticipation.

Don't one is in a birthday suit. Even N.A.S.H.A. has a collar on. 

Don't one is in a birthday suit. Even N.A.S.H.A. has a collar on. 

My five-year-old daughter, Campbell, loves so swim sans bathing suit, so her stripping down is another cue to the dog that a good time is about to be had.

The other day, N.A.S.H.A. was especially excited because we all got into our suits for a family swim. She started jumping up on me, and I feared her nails would snag my bathing suit. "N.A.S.H.A., stop! You're going to ruin my bathing suit!" I commanded.

So she moved onto Campbell, who was just as ticked. "N.A.S.H.A., stop! You're going to ruin my birthday suit!"

Dogs ruin everything.  

my kids think they're lucky to be working all summer

Don't get me wrong. We play in the pool quite a bit in our "off hours," but my kids don't have the typical summer vacation. They go to work with me each and every day, and they help. Like truly help. We don't travel to far-off lands or exotic places, and though I don't think they'd turn down the opportunity to do so, my kids actually think they're lucky to be working all summer. 

We don't travel during the summer because our clients do. As a professional pet sitter and work-from-home-mom, when the kids are out of school, they accompany me–aka free child labor–on my visits. They generally know my schedule, and they know all of the creatures in the lineup, so if we're seeing some of their favorites, they'll often be dressed before 5 a.m., ready to make the rounds. 

This week is particularly fun because we're looking after one of our favorite animal families. They have a dog, a cat, two horses, and three chickens, and my kids wouldn't let me leave them behind for anything.

Admiring the horses, chatting with the chickens and giving the cat some love.

Admiring the horses, chatting with the chickens and giving the cat some love.

Sometimes I feel like my kids are deprived because they don't get to do much of what their friends are doing over the summer, but then I review the pictures and see their enthusiasm and realize that putting them to work for the summer doing something they love while spending time together is just as valuable.

It's like our own private petting zoo, all summer long.