"It's summertime and the living is easy," or so goes the Sam Cooke song. Summertime means fun, sun, and lots of play outdoors if you're a dog -- or a dog owner, for that matter.

Dog in life vestBut as much fun as summer can be for you and your dog, there are a few safety tips that will hopefully make the warmest of all seasons safe and carefree for all concerned.


As the Australian mantra is known to all Down Under, it means slip on a shirt, slop on some sunscreen and slap on a hat. This technique can be applied to your dog as well, especially if he's of a short-haired variety. Dress your dog in a shirt, put sunscreen on his ears and nose, and if you can't get him to put on a hat, keep him in the shade often -- this will help prevent cases of sunburn or even heatstroke in your pup.


Not a fun summer activity for anyone, especially your dog. Nip this potential summer dampener in the butt and give Rover access to shade and lots of water. A pair of cool shades wouldn't hurt either (Doggles, anyone?) Signs of heatstroke to look out for include excessive panting, drooling, rapid pulse and fever.


Dogs love to run and play on grassy areas. But make sure you keep your pup in the designated "doggy areas," because fertilizers may be used in non-dog areas, which are harmful to your pooch. A safe bet is taking Fido to your favorite dog park (check out the PetMD Finder for parks in your area). Remember, not all grass is created equal.


Actually, I can't remember if Stephen King's old classic, Christine, was about a demon car or a killer car, but it doesn't matter. Point is, don't leave Rover in the car during the hot summer months (or at any time for that matter). Not even if you're going into the store for only a few minutes. The heat in a car can quickly rise to lethal levels. So, either take him with you, or leave him at home for your visit to the store.


Antifreeze is something to watch out for all year 'round, as all cats and dogs find it delicious, and even in very small amounts it's very poisonous. But in summer, cars tend to overheat more and leak antifreeze, so be on the watch when walking your dog.


If your dog is on a boat, then he'd better know how to swim. And even if your pooch can, a doggy life vest is a must. After all, rip currents are a killer, even for those with the best swimming abilities. You never know when accidents will happen while sailing on the high seas.

A few more pointers 
You should definitely make sure the doggy's ID and registration is up to date. Fido might get over-excited and take off, but at least you'll be able to track him down. And in the really hot days of summer, take him for a walk when it's cooler -- early evening or early morning is best. Last of all, make sure you're up to date with flea and tick meds -- this is the season where they come out in droves.

So, summer fun for you and your pooch should be more than easy going now, it should be plain ol' easy.


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