8 Ways to Prep Your Pup for Summer Fun

8 Ways to Prep Your Pup for Summer Fun

Summer is the perfect time to catch some rays (and enjoy some summer fun) with your favorite canine. Whether you’re planning an exotic vacation or simply chilling closer to home, you’ll need to prep your pup to keep them safe and comfortable all summer long.

Here are our top tips to help you gear up for warm-weather adventures and summertime fun for both you and your dog!

Summer Fun Tips for You and Your Dog

Before you hit the trails or head to the beach, it’s important to make sure your dog is ready (and protected) for fun in the sun. Here are eight tips to help you and your pup make the most of your summer together.

So, grab your leash, pack some treats, and get ready for a season of unforgettable experiences with your four-legged friend!

1. Schedule a summer safety check with your vet 

Wherever your summer adventures take you, your veterinarian’s office should be the first stop on your itinerary. Ensuring your dog is in good health before you embark on any warm-weather excursions or exertions can help provide peace of mind. Plus, if you’re traveling, boarding, or coming in contact with new wildlife, pests, or illnesses, you’ll need the proper protection and documentation.

That may sound complex, but it’s a lot simpler when you sign up for a free GreatPetCare account. Log in to access your dog’s important health records, vaccination info, and prescription medications wherever you are. You can even set up medication reminders and auto-shipments so you never miss a dose, no matter how busy your summer gets.  

Sign up for your free GreatPetCare account today!

2. Gear up for outdoor adventures

Before heading into the great outdoors, equip your dog with the necessary gear and protection so they can enjoy safe summer fun and adventures.

This includes broad-spectrum parasite protection to guard against any fleas, ticks, mosquitoes, or intestinal worms your dog may encounter. Remember, parasites vary by region, so be sure to research your summer destinations and check with your vet to ensure your dog is taking the proper preventative medication.

SImparica Trio for dogs
NexGard Plus
Trifexis for dogs

More time outside means more opportunities for your pet to go missing. Always ensure your dog is microchipped and wearing a collar with updated identification tags. A well-fitted harness and leash are key for control, especially in busy or unfamiliar environments. And don’t forget to pack a portable water and food bowl to keep your pup hydrated and energized during your outdoor excursions!

3. Brush up on training basics

Speaking of control, if your summer plans involve large crowds or potentially stressful situations, it’s a good idea to brush up on training commands beforehand. Practice basic obedience commands such as sit, stay, and recall in different environments to reinforce good behavior. This will create a safer and more enjoyable experience for both you and your dog, whether you’re paddleboarding on the lake or exploring a crowded dog park.

4. Keep cool to beat summer heat hazards

Soaring temps can take a serious toll on your dog’s health. Even everyday activities could increase your dog’s risk of developing conditions ranging from heat rash to heat stroke.

To protect your pup, here are some summertime tactics to help beat the heat:

  • UK-based veterinarian Dr. Alex Crow, MRCV, cautions against strenuous activities that could cause a dog to overheat during warmer summer months. “Limit exercise to early morning or evening hours and provide plenty of water breaks to prevent dehydration,” Dr. Crow recommends.
  • Dogs naturally shed more in the summer to regulate their body temperature. Invest in a deshedding brush and keep your pup well-groomed to help them stay cool and comfortable.
  • Warm weather can also aggravate skin issues, so consider a soothing shampoo formulated to calm irritated skin.
  • Make sure your dog has access to a cool shady spot and fresh water whenever they’re outside. Consider freezing treats like yogurt or peanut butter in ice cube trays for a refreshing snack on hot days.
  • Finally, don’t forget that paved surfaces can retain enough heat to burn your dog’s paws severely. As a general rule, if a surface is too hot for you to touch for 10 seconds, it’s too hot for your dog to walk on.  

5. Swim and splash safely

Taking a dip with your dog can be a great way to stay cool in the summer. But whether you’re at the lake, the beach, or in your own pool, always prioritize water safety. Invest in appropriate safety gear for your pup, such as a life jacket designed specifically for dogs, especially if your pup is not a confident swimmer. And never leave your dog unattended in the water — no matter how strong of a swimmer they are.

Drowning isn’t the only health hazard to watch out for in the water. Did you know dog ear infections peak during summer months? Swimming often leads to excess moisture in the ear canal, which creates the perfect conditions for a bacterial or fungal ear infection. If your dog loves to splash or swim, be sure to clean their ears regularly with a veterinarian-approved ear-cleaning solution. And if you suspect your dog may have an ear infection, schedule an appointment with your vet for proper diagnosis and treatment.

Cerasoothe Antiseptic Flush for dog ear cleaning

6. Watch for seasonal changes in appetite and digestion

Summer heat can affect your dog’s appetite, leading to changes in eating habits that could impact their health. Some dogs may eat less due to the heat. Other dogs may be tempted to overindulge or eat things that could be dangerous to them, especially at cookouts or picnics.

Monitor your dog’s eating habits to be sure they’re getting the proper nutrition all summer long.

  • If your dog’s not eating, you may want to offer lighter, easily digestible meals during the summer months. If a change in diet doesn’t work, ask your vet if an appetite stimulant could help.
  • If your dog snatches something yummy from the picnic table or garbage can and it triggers a bout of digestive upset, ask your vet if a probiotic supplement could help get their digestive system back on track.
  • Finally, remember to store your dry dog food in a cool, dry place like your pantry, rather than someplace like your garage — especially in the summer. According to the Food and Drug Administration, temperatures in excess of 80 degrees F can cause the nutrients in dry dog food to break down and degrade.
Purina® Pro Plan® Veterinary Supplements FortiFlora® Dog SA Synbiotic Action
Proviable® Forte Sprinkle Capsules for Cats & Dogs

7. Prep a summer emergency First Aid Kit

Whether you’re embarking on an outdoor adventure or staying close to home, having access to a well-stocked first aid kit is a must for any dog parent. Before you head out for summer fun, stock up on first aid essentials like gauze pads, adhesive tape, antiseptic wipes, tweezers, and pain medications.

While you’re at it, don’t forget to set up your GreatPetCare account to keep emergency contact numbers for your veterinarian and local animal hospital easily accessible.

8. Summer can be stressful! Keep your pup cool and calm

If you have a pup who’s prone to anxiety, summertime can be super stressful. From beach crowds, to air travel, to fireworks displays, there are plenty of things that could set your dog off.

But, with some planning, you can help ease your dog’s nerves with some calming solutions to ensure a peaceful summer for you and your pup. Ask your vet if over-the-counter options would be appropriate, such as calming chews containing chamomile or melatonin. Or, if your dog’s anxiety is extreme, your vet may prescribe an anti-anxiety medication with short-term or long-term calming effects.

VetriScience Composure Chews for Dogs
Purina ProPlan Calming Care supplement
Gabapentin / Trazodone HCl Flex Tabs (compounded)

Summer is a great time to get our dogs involved in fun activities like hiking, swimming, and agility training. It’s a fantastic opportunity for both you and your pup to have a summer filled with unforgettable experiences and cherished memories. Preparing for summer fun helps to create a more enjoyable experience, and a GreatPetCare account can help keep you on track. Enjoy the sunshine, stay safe, and make the most of your summer together!

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