Summer Safety for Dogs

Summertime is a perfect time for families and their pets to play, vacation, and travel together.  These days more and more pets are traveling with their owners.  According to national safety statistics, the number of pets traveling in vehicles is now at an all-time high -- up 300% since 2005.  Consider this:

 - 63% of US households have a pet.  That's 71.1 million homes.
 - 98% of dogs travel unrestrained in a moving vehicle.
 - 82% of dogs travel in the car and on vacation.
 - A 60-pound pet in a 35 mph accident becomes a 2,700 pound projectile.

"In the car," said Greg Kleva, New Jersey-based Bark Busters trainer and safety advocate for Bark Buckle Up, "your dog becomes a distraction if it jumps into your lap, your dog becomes a flying object if you slam on the brakes too fast, or if you do get into an accident, your dog can dart out of the car and into the traffic where it can potentially get hurt, or get lost."

The safest way to travel with our dog is in a crate.  Otherwise, use a harness or buckle type of device.  You can get the devices at any pet store.  Place the harness around your dog and secure the harness clip to your human seat buckle. 

Bark Buckle UP is a non-profit organization that educates and promotes awareness for safety while traveling with pets.  They have a free first responder pet safety kit, endorsed by police and fire departments across the country.  

A lot of people presume their dogs are instinctively natural swimmers, but that's not necessarily the case, so you need to take precautions when boating with a pet.  Depending upon their weight distribution or body mass, they may not be.  Whether on a boat, near a lake or a river, use a flotation device - or life jacket.  Get one that has Velcro straps around the bottom that go around the dog's belly.  Connect those straps.  And, make sure the device has thick padding to go under the chin, to keep your dog's head afloat in case it gets in trouble in the water.

The sun can also be an issue as dogs can suffer heatstroke, according to Christine Taylor, the executive director of the Ramapo-Bergen Animal Refuge in Oakland, New Jersey.  Do not keep your pets in a car, even with the windows cracked open.

"People don't realize even 10 minutes in a car in the summer when temperatures are 70 degrees and higher, dogs, or even cats, it can be life-threatening for them," Taylor said. " They should not leave dogs in the car, even when they're running errands." 

If the dog does suffer any heatstroke, try to cool it down, get cool compresses, and get it to a vet right away.  Some people think hosing the animal down with really cold water is the way to go, but if it isn't done properly, the dog could be seriously injured.  Get them to a vet.  And, just try to prevent the heatstroke.

Be careful about letting your dogs out in your backyard.  Don't leave them unattended.  They can get loose. People can come and take your animals.  There are wild animals.  "If you do have them out in the summertime," says Taylor, "make sure they have shade.  Make sure they have water.  And, don't leave them out all day."

Remembering these simple tips - will ensure your dog will have a rich and full life.

More Resources for Summer Safety

Free Pet Safety Kit


Plants Toxic to Animals

Summer Fun, Summer Safety

Summer Pet Care

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