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Summertime Dog Safety

Learn how to keep your dog safe in summer.

Summer is a beautiful time for getting outside with your dog. With a little bit of preparation to avoid summer dangers for dog, you'll have a fabulous season together.

Never Leave Your Dog Alone in a Car

The first rule of summertime is to never, ever leave your dog unattended in a car for any length of time. The inside of a vehicle can become incredibly hot much faster than you might think, and your dog can suffer from heat stroke, brain damage, and death in an astoundingly short time. Just don't do it.

Keep Your Dog's Water Dish Full and Fresh

Your dog needs a constant supply of fresh, clean water at all times. If you are hanging out outside with your dog, keep a bowl of fresh water filled and encourage your dog to drink out of it often. Once you go inside after being outside, make sure the bowl there is full of fresh water too.

We don't recommend leaving a dog outside all the time, no matter what the season. If you absolutely must leave your dog unattended outside in the summer, it's crucial that he always have access to shelter and water.


If your dog is a reluctant drinker, try adding some ice cubes to his water dish. You can also try different types of bowls—some dogs prefer drinking out of glass bowls over plastic or metal, which can transfer objectionable tastes to the water.

Dogs That Are Outside Need Shelter

If your dog is outside while it's hot, he needs a place to go for shelter from the sun. That might be a dog house, covered porch, or big shade tree. Whatever you use as a shelter for your dog, be sure he knows where it is and can get to it easily.

Asphalt Can Burn Canine Paw Pads

This is something that's overlooked a lot. Surfaces that are too hot for your bare feet are too hot for your dog's paw pads. Asphalt can get super-hot, and your dog's paw pads can be severely burned. Don't run your dog on hot surfaces without booties made to protect his feet.

Protect Your Dog from Parasites

Intestinal parasites like roundworms and hookworms, external parasites like fleas and ticks, and mosquitoes that can spread heartworm disease all pose a significant risk to your dog, and that risk is often higher in the summer.

Be sure you've visited your veterinarian and are following a plan for prevention of these parasites and their associated diseases and be diligent about keeping your dog on that plan all summer.

Avoid Canine Toxic Substances Including Certain Human Foods

Brush up on which human foods are toxic or otherwise dangerous to dogs. Summer brings barbecues and outdoor parties filled with food and drink. If your dog is going to be included in the fun, make sure all attendees know which foods he can't have. Those include:

  • Chocolate
  • Alcohol
  • Grapes and raisins
  • Onions and garlic
  • Fatty meat
  • Bones
  • Xylitol

Summer is a fun season, and you can have a great time with your dog if you keep these precautions in mind.

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Disclaimer: This website is not intended to replace professional consultation, diagnosis, or treatment by a licensed veterinarian. If you require any veterinary related advice, contact your veterinarian promptly. Information at is exclusively of a general reference nature. Do not disregard veterinary advice or delay treatment as a result of accessing information at this site.