How to keep your dogs safe and happy this Summer

Two dogs playing in a basin

It’s that most wonderful time of the year again. But before you head off to your Christmas gatherings, New Year’s Eve parties, or annual family summer vacation, don’t forget to make plans for your four-legged friends to make sure they are safe and happy during this festive season.

Here are some tips and things to remember:

Travelling with your dog or puppy

  • If you are travelling to a potential tick infested area, make sure your dog has the appropriate tick prevention applied 48 hours before travelling.
  • Bring a portable water bowl or water bottle and enough water for your dog to drink.
  • Make sure your dog is safely and securely restrained in the car. Do not allow the dog to put their head out of the car window while the car is moving.
  • Plan to stop every two hours for a toilet break. Make sure you pick up after your dog and dispose the waste properly.

Leaving your dog with a friend or a pet boarding facility

  • If the dog will be staying in a boarding kennel, have a friend who lives nearby to be the emergency contact. Provide your friend’s contact details to the boarding facility.
  • If the dog will be staying with a friend, ensure that the dog has a tag with the contact details of the person looking after the dog. Make sure your friend has the contact details of a vet clinic open over the Christmas holidays.

Feeding your dog

  • Do not give your dog the leftover Christmas ham, meats, or cooked bones. Increased fat in your dog’s diet can lead to serious intestinal issues. Bones can also cause gastrointestinal obstruction.
  • Keep the puddings, chocolates, lollies or biscuits out of your dog’s reach. These types of food contain ingredients that are very toxic to dogs.

Preventing stress or anxiety

  • If your dog has noise anxiety or becomes agitated when there is noise (for example, fireworks or several people in the room), make sure your dog has a “quiet spot” where it can be comfortable and away from the noise. Place a bed and soothing toy in the “quiet spot” and give praises to your dog when it is calm.
  • To decrease the chance of separation anxiety, regularly leave your puppy or dog alone for a short period during the day. This builds your puppy’s confidence. Just make sure that the puppy will have the right amount of water, bedding, toys and shelter.
  • You must supervise your dog at all times when it is with other pets and children. 

Tips for summer safety

  • Never leave your dog in a car unsupervised. Cars heat up very quickly and dogs are susceptible to heat exhaustion within a matter of minutes.
  • Leave your dog inside during very hot days.
  • If your dog stays in the yard, make sure that there is plenty of shelter.
  • Make sure your dog has a couple of water bowls both indoors and outdoors (in the shade).
  • Provide a small pool or tub for your dog to play in.
  • For more tips on heat pet safety, see the Australian Dog Lover’s article on “Preventing heat stress in dogs.”

An infographic showing tips on pet safety in the heat
(Source: Australian Dog Lover website)