With the arrival of summer, temperatures and family activities are on the rise. Leaving your dog at home for long periods isn’t an option for many dedicated pet parents. Sunny weather and quality time outdoors are so much more enjoyable when your canine companion is having an equally wonderful time at your side. Here are some ideas for the entire family --- furry friends included --- to lap up the sunshine this summer.
Bike with Your Best Buddy
Bike rides are a fun summer activity and also offer you substantial exercise. However, if you’re planning on taking your dog on a ride, you must know your dog’s fitness level. Not all dogs can keep up with their human counterparts on bikes, and some pups, mainly smaller and younger dogs, belong safely fastened in a basket.
According to PetMD, it’s essential to have your dog checked out by his or her veterinarian before going on a bike ride with them. Make sure your dog is physically fit and healthy enough to run alongside you while you pedal around the neighborhood. Additionally, choosing the correct gear for a bike ride is incredibly important for the safety of everyone involved. A harness that attaches to your dog’s body is a must. Attaching the leash to the bike itself is recommended as opposed to holding the leash up around the handlebars.
Allowing your dog to become comfortable around a bike could be a long process. You do not want to take your dog on a bike ride when she has no prior experience around bikes. Have some treats with you on the ride to keep your dog focused on you, as there will be many distractions along the way. Start slow in terms of speed and mileage, and slowly build up both over time.
Be sure to avoid taking your dog out on the pavement or sidewalks on hot days to prevent burns and injuries to your dog’s feet and any chance of heatstroke. Have plenty of water accessible for your dog when she gets thirsty.
Remember, riding a bike with your dog is only allowed in designated off-leash enclosures or parks. Check signage at parks or your local town or county website for current rules and regulations.
Camp it Up
Camping with the family wouldn’t be the same without your dog, but certain precautions are necessary before you make the trip. All dogs should be on parasite preventative year-round, especially if you plan on taking your dog camping. Exposure to ticks, fleas, worms, and other contagious parasites can endanger your dog’s health. Talk with your vet to determine the best treatment option for your dog. Have your dog microchipped before you spend time with her in unfamiliar territory. Be sure your dog’s tags and information are legible and up to date.
A well-behaved pup is critical for you and your family to enjoy your trip. There’s plenty of excitement surrounding a camping trip that can get some canines overexcited, prompting them to act out. Make sure your dog has fundamental training and knows her basic commands. The last thing a dog owner wants is their dog running away and getting lost in a new and wild setting. Consider keeping your dog on a leash for the entirety of the trip.
Purchasing a portable crate or play area for your dog is a good idea when it comes to a camping trip. Also, take time before you camp to get your dog accustomed to sleeping in a tent. It’ll help you and your dog get a full night’s rest in the great outdoors.
Even with a well-trained dog, medical accidents or emergencies can happen. Pack a first-aid kit for your pup and keep it easily accessible so you can grab it right away if necessary. The kit should include bandages, antibiotic ointment, cotton swabs, and a tick removal tool at the minimum.
Take a Swim
Swimming is a summer staple for many people, and letting your dog into the pool can be an enticing idea. However, you should take safety precautions for your dog before she sets a paw in the water. Number one, be sure your dog is in a life jacket, especially if she has no previous experience swimming. Don’t leave your dog unattended in the water even if she is a veteran swimmer.
Have a doggie first-aid kit nearby the pool or body of water. Pet owners are encouraged to learn CPR if they plan on swimming with their dog. Red Cross chapters usually offer pet CPR classes online as well as a Pet First Aid app you can download on your phone. Ask your veterinarian for feedback, too, as they’ll be able to offer helpful suggestions and information.
Remember, it’s never a good idea to allow your dog to drink water out of the pool, lake, or any body of water. These areas may be contaminated with bacteria that can cause your dog to become ill. If your dog drinks an excess amount of chlorinated water, she may suffer from numerous medical issues, including gastrointestinal discomfort, inhalation difficulties, and ear infections.
Dogs can indeed get sunburned, so don’t let your dog swim in the direct sunlight for long periods. Speak with your veterinarian about appropriate types of canine sunscreen for your pup, especially if she has short or little fur.
Keep Your Pup Safe and Insured
If you enjoy taking your dog on your outdoor adventures, then having pet insurance for her is a must. When riding a bike, hiking, swimming, or camping with your dog, accidents are bound to happen. Your doggie med-kit can help cover small scratches and cuts, but sometimes a trip to the vet is needed. A routine trip to the vet is at least $90, and if a serious injury were to happen, that price could quickly increase with additional treatments, medications, hospitalizations, and surgeries.
Have fun in the sun with your dog, but always be prepared for emergencies with the right pet insurance coverage for your pup. Enroll your dog in a pet insurance policy today. With the peace of mind that pet insurance provides, you can breathe easy and live in the moment outdoors with your best canine friend at your side.
1. Negron, V. (2019, June 6). Tips for Safely Biking With Your Dog. Retrieved from https://www.petmd.com/dog/wellness/evr_dg_biking_with_your_dog_safely
2. Busch, M. (2020). Camping With Your Dog. Retrieved from https://www.preventivevet.com/dogs/camping-with-your-dog
3. Kramer, M. (2016). 6 Tips to Swim Safely With Dogs. Retrieved from http://www.vetstreet.com/our-pet-experts/6-tips-to-help-dogs-swim-safely
4. American Red Cross. (2020). Cat & Dog First Aid Online Training. Retrieved from https://www.redcross.org/take-a-class/first-aid/cat-dog-first-aid
5. Meyers, H. (2019). Should Your Dog Wear Sunscreen? Retrieved from https://www.akc.org/expert-advice/health/dog-sunscreen/