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Summer Safety

Safety to keep cool in those hot months and safety in and around water

By Tami Foster

Summer is once again upon us and most of us have activities during the warm months of the year that revolve around water of some type. We would like to share with you some helpful safety tips and some products to help you and your pet enjoy the heat and the water more safely.

A lot of you have swimming pools.  Most people take for granted that dogs can swim, but for how long if they fall into a pool and can't get out.  You need to teach your dog about the parameters of your pool and how to exit it.  Some puppies and grown dogs are too small to place their paws on a step and get out of a pool.  There is a product that I recommend to all my pool parents of puppies; that is the Skamper Ramp.  This product can be ordered on line or from most of you local pool supply stores.  It is a ramp that attaches to the side of your pool and floats in the water.  It has several small holes in it too give a dog a grip with their nails.  This also will aide those frogs and toads that make their way into your pool for a cool dip in the water and then find no way out and end up in the pool filter. The Skamper Ramp has a video to help you teach your dog how to use it.  This is absolutely necessary.  It will do no good to have a life saving product if your pet does not know how to use it and use it every time. Here is a link to find the Skamper Ramp.

There is another product called the Turtle Alarm. This product is worm on a collar or harness and will set off a very loud alarm if you child or pet gets too close to the base unit, which is set by the pool.  It will go off also if the turtle worn by your pet or child gets wet.  I have a friend that has these for both of her Shih Tzu puppies and just loves it.  They have tested it repeatedly and say it really works great. Make sure you place the alarm unit at a distance from your ears because it can be quite deafening.  You will know when this alarm goes off!  Here is the link for the Turtle

Do you go walking with your dog or go to outside events where they may get hotter than usual. A very inexpensive item is the Cool-It Bandanna.  You just soak it in water and velcro it around your dog's neck to help keep them cooler in the hot weather.  You can find it at

What about boating with your dog?  Well have you considered a life jacket for you beloved pet? Yes, we all know the phrase, "all dogs can swim", but for how long? If you dog falls overboard or is caught up in the current or by waves from other motorcraft, then a life vest can be a life saver. Most dog life vests have a easy strap or handle to be able to pick them up by if they are in the water.  G.W. Little carries them for the toy dog with a handle. They have wonderful products for toy dogs. Their web site is:

Make sure your dog is use to the water and learns to enjoy it with just a brief amount of time in the water until they are confident.  Some dogs do just take to the water, while others would rather not ever have to edure the experience.  Make sure the water is not too cold for your dog. They also can suffer from hypothermia. If you do enjoy boating and water sports and have your dog with you, then please teach them to come to you from being in the water. Make sure your dog is wearing a harness if just riding in your boat and make sure they are securely in the boat.  One little distraction or enticement and they can be after it and overboard in a heartbeat. Make sure to bring along a container for their drinking water.  Dogs need to stay hydrated in the heat of summer just like we do. For thinner coated dogs or hairless dogs, sunscreen and a t-shirt are a must to keep them from getting sun burned. Make sure you have a shaded place for them on your boat or when on the beach or camping. If your dog does get overheated then get them in the shade, give them water, keep Nutri-Stat or Nutri-Cal on all away from home excursions. This can help combat heat exhaustion. Try to cool their body down with water or ice.  Dogs sweat and absorb things through the pads of their feet, so that is a good place to start. If you are on the beach, then dig down in the sand til it is cool and damp for them to lay in.  Dogs naturally will dig to cooler dirt to help with the heat. If you have access to a personal fan, then by all means use it to help cool your dog.  There are personal fans attached to water bottles to mist you.  These are great for your dog and can be found easily.

At home in your back yard is a great place for a wading pool for your dog.  Make sure they are big enough to get in and out of it and that it does not have too much water. You basically are making a sit bath for your dog. I have a 40 gallon fountain in my back yard and I use castle rocks stair stepped in the fountain so if anyone goes in they can step out no matter how small they are.  Never leave your children or pets unattended around any type of pool, whether kiddy pool, above ground or in ground pool. Always watch children and pets around water sources.  Be smart and enjoy the great outdoors and all the activities we enjoy during the hot months of the year. Your dog can enjoy all the activities and outings just as much as you do if encouraged to join in and enjoy them. Walking, boating and beach activities should be for a limited amount of time at first, so you do not stress your puppy or dog and let them build up gradually for longer walking distances or outside activities.  Always keep plenty of water available.  If your dog is not drinking enough and is overheated, then add a little apple juice, sweet tea or sports drink to their water.  Most of these contain sugar that will help in an emergency.  Don't use carbonated drinks. Sports drinks like Gatoraide can also help them balance and replace lost electrolytes.  Pedialyte is wonderful and safe for puppies and grown dogs during times of stress.

Don't leave your dog in your vehicle for any length of time.  A vehicle can get to 120 degrees or more in just a matter of minutes. More and more stores, parks, festivals and outside restaurants are becoming dog friendly.  Find out where in your area that you can go with your dog.  Don't forget to have doggy baggies for those bathroom breaks.  Wet wipes, paper towels and even baby powder can help you get your dog back to being fresh and clean if a mess occurs. If your dog knows how to use a doggy pee pad then keep one in your vehicle for emergencies. 

Now get out there and enjoy the summer sun and water and don't forget to take Fido or FiFi and pack a bag of necessities for their safety and enjoyment.

Travel List Suggestions


Water dish

Nutri-Stat or Nutri- Cal


Pee Pads

Pet wet wipes

Paper towels



Cool-It Collar

Harness and leash

Don't forget rabies tag or microchip tag should be attached to harness or collar

You may even want to keep a copy of your dogs vaccination records in your glove compartment of your vehicle

Life Vest for water sports

Comb or Brush

Baby Powder or Corn Starch to absorb moisture and freshen from potty accidents

some type of shade, t-shirt or sunscreen