Summer is the season for getting outdoors and enjoying longer days on the beach, along the trails or just out for sunny walks. It’s a perfect season to get the exercise you and your dog need, but being mindful of the heat, parasites and the signs of dehydration is an imperative to keeping your dog safe and healthy.

When headed out for long walks in summer, it’s important to bring fresh, cool water for your dog, seek out shade whenever possible and avoid hot cement or asphalt to protect his paws. Summer is also flea and tick season, so giving your pup an appropriate preventative will allow the two of you to safely hike, walk and explore without fear of contracting harmful diseases like Lyme or Bartonella. Car rides with your pup can be fun, but in summer, they’re best avoided completely. Leaving your dog in a hot car for even a few minutes can lead to heat stroke or dehydration.

Caring for your pet through every season and change is part of what makes you a great pet owner. Here are simple, summer health tips to help you give your dog the best possible care this summer.

Hydrate and Shade
In the hot, summer months, it becomes much easier for your dog to become dehydrated-just like you. It’s important to keep cool, fresh water available at home and while out on walks. When you head out together to explore the outdoors, bring a cool bottle of water for your dog and a bowl to pour it into. Seek shade whenever possible, as too much direct sunlight and heat can increase the likelihood that he’ll become dehydrated. Be mindful of the signs of dehydration, while you’re at it: dry gums and excessive drooling.

Paw Care
If you and your pup like to take sunny strolls down neighborhood streets, be extra mindful of hot sidewalks during summer. Your dog doesn’t wear shoes like you to protect his paws, and hot sidewalks or asphalt can burn his paws quickly. Steer your pup toward grassy, cooler areas, or move your walks to cooler times of day-early morning or later in the evening.

Cut the Car Trips
We don’t recommend that you ever leave your pup unattended in a car, and definitely not in the hot, summer months. It can take less than 10 minutes for a dog or cat to develop heat stroke in a hot car, and your car can go from cool and air conditioned to boiling hot in just minutes when turned off-even with windows down.

Watch Your Walks
While you may have enjoyed long walks with your dog during your lunch hour this spring, in summer, it’s a good idea to keep your walks to the coolest time of day to keep you both comfortable and safe. Try walking your dog in the early morning hours, before it gets too hot or sunny, and the later evening hours, when the sun has started to go down and the temperature begins to cool.

Fleas and Ticks
Summer is flea, tick, mosquito and parasite season. Your pet will need proper prevention to keep them healthy, comfortable and safe from harmful diseases like Lyme or Bartonella. Check with your vet to determine the right flea and tick preventative for your dog, and make sure to use it regularly throughout the summer months, to keep him covered!