School ends this week. The pools open. The baseball games have started. It’s summer!

It’s easy to forget over those long winter months, but there are some risks that come with this great season. Be sure to protect your pet as you enjoy the end of hibernation season.

NEVER leave your dog in the car. Ever.

Even with the windows cracked that car gets overwhelmingly hot pretty darn quick. It is never safe to leave a pet in the car.  Don’t do it.  No matter how tempting it is.

Be sure to have plenty of water on hand.

Your dog is wearing a fur coat. Even in 90 degree weather. So be sure to bring a water bottle and bowl. Dogs are easy to train to drink out of handy spouts, or even the bottle itself. It’s not ideal to be sharing community water bowls at the dog park (think about where all those mouths have been! Ick), so be sure to bring your own supply.

Smoosh faced, over weight, and older pets have a harder time.

Not every dog and cat is equally equipped to handle the heat. Take pity and walk your squish faced dogs in the early morning and late evenings. Be sure to run fans and air conditioning for your pets even if you are immune to the heat. Limit activity if breathing is compromised for any reason. Dogs cool themselves by panting. If they can’t breath well, they can’t cool well.

Your dog can sunburn, too!

Every year I run out the door on that first sunny day without remembering my sunblock and then I pay the price (and then I don’t forget for the rest of the summer!). Dogs can burn too if they like to lie with their bellies to the sun or have thin coats. In the age of the pampered pet there are all kinds of protective clothing you can purchase (for the rain, snow, or sun) and there are even pet sunblock products. Be sure to avoid using human products as ingredients like zinc can be toxic if swallowed.

Not all dogs swim.

Not every dog is a great swimmer. Or is smart enough to get out of the water when they’re tired. Use a doggie lifevest, monitor activity carefully, and be prepared to help your friend out if they over-do their aquatic adventures. And don’t forget to check feet carefully after swimming. Pads soften in the water and it’s easy to get cuts and scrapes that may need attention.

Remember that the fleas and ticks had a long winter, too.

The critters are hungry. Use a good flea and tick preventative. Each year we see more and more tick disease and some of it is pretty devastating. And fleas? They’re just disgusting! Avoid them all with a good preventative.

Enjoy the beautiful spring, everyone! Get outside with your pets and enjoy the sun. Be safe and happy!