Summer Outdoor Activities: How to Safely Go Hiking, Camping & Boating with Your Dog
With summer in full swing, the days are longer and the weather is warmer, which means more pet parents are getting outside with their dogs. It’s easy to be optimistically oblivious to the potential summer hazards, but here’s how every outdoor-loving pet parent should prepare.
Warm weather is the number one danger that can quickly sneak up on you and your pet. Prevent heatstroke and keep your dog cool with the following tips.
- Check the forecast. On extra hot days, opt to leave your pup at home.
- Bring plenty of water. Even on shorter hikes or walks, it’s best to be prepared.
- Avoid hot pavement. Place your bare foot or hand on the pavement for 10 seconds. If it’s too hot for you, it’s too hot for them.
- Flat-faced breed? Choose a shorter and shadier path & leave them home on hot days.
- Never leave your dog in a hot car. The inside of a vehicle parked in 70-degree weather can reach 100 degrees in less than 20 minutes.
- Always provide a shady retreat. Dangerous UV rays can cause both sunburn and skin cancer in dogs.
Safety & First Aid
When venturing out on a hike or camping trip, it’s a good idea to be prepared in case of emergency. Don’t forget to pack these things:
- Benadryl: know the right dosage for your pup
- First-aid kit with all the essentials
- Rescue harness or sling: to help you carry your dog long distances in case they become unable to walk
- Birds, owls, hawks: Keep small pets on leash or close by at all times
- Keep food and waste packed away so as not to attract bears or other curious noses
- Bugs: use flea, tick and heartworm preventives, carry a tick removal tool, and steer clear of ant and wasp nests
- Plants: stick to the trails to keep your dog from tromping through thorns, poisonous plants, foxtails or other natural dangers
In addition to the tips mentioned above, be sure to choose a dog-friendly campsite, bring plenty of water for both you and your dog, and prepare for unexpected weather. Pack clothing for your dog, such as a raincoat, sweater, or booties which protect from both extreme heat and cold.
Boating and Water Activities
- Always have a life jacket for your dog! Even if he’s an avid swimmer, he can’t communicate when he’s feeling tired and weak. Prevent a tragedy by outfitting your pup with a flotation vest made for dogs.
- Create an emergency plan. In case your dog goes overboard, know what to do. Practice with your dog and other human passengers.
- Bring a first aid kit for your dog. Antibiotic ointment, Dramamine in case of sea sickness (ask your vet beforehand), and any medications your dog is on.
- Offer plenty of water: Regularly encourage your dog to drink fresh water to prevent the temptation to drink lake or ocean water. Salt water is especially dangerous because it causes diarrhea and dehydration and can quickly turn fatal.
- Give your dog a potty spot. Either make regular shoreline visits or bring material that your pup is familiar with such as Astroturf, plastic puppy pads, or grass pads.