Summertime means sun, beach, and lots of play outdoors with your pets. Atlanta GirlZ Club® started our summer off by hitting the beaches on beautiful Hilton Head Island, South Carolina. Bringing our fur kids to the beach or taking them to a dog beach makes for a more relaxing and fun day experience for everyone. But the very things that make the beach pleasant – the water, sun and sand – could also prove harmful to your pets.
Summer is a great time to bond with your pet. Higher temperatures also mean higher risks for our furry companions – more injuries, more skin and ear infections and a possibility of a heat stroke.
Pets don’t sweat in the same way humans do and can easily become overheated. To avoid this problem and enjoy summer with your pet, here are a few helpful tips from Lucy and Holly:
Keep them cool and hydrated to avoid heatstroke
To keep your pet safe, avoid the dog beach during hottest parts of the day. Most beaches have specified hours when dogs can be on the beach, usually before 10:00 a.m. and after 5:00 p.m.; be sure to check times in your area. Provide your pup with plenty of access to shade (beach umbrella or cabana) and lots of fresh, cool water. Dehydration in pets is a real possibility during the summer. Our puppers get much thirstier than we do when they get hot. Make sure your pet always has access to fresh, clean water at all times and bring a bottle for your furry companion when you head to the beach, just as you do for yourself. Don’t let your pet drink salty sea water as it could dehydrate them. Keep your pet in the shade as often as possible. While dogs and cats like to sunbathe, direct sunlight can overheat them (especially dogs) and lead to heat stroke. If pets show signs of heat exhaustion, move them to a cool place, give them a drink of water, put a damp towel over their body, and get them to the vet asap. Do not place your pet in cold water as that can put them into shock.
Limit outdoor activity
Try to keep activity to a minimum. You can play fetch with your dog, just make sure they have plenty of time to rest, get out of the sun and drink water in between games. If your dog seems overly tired or is panting more than normal, it’s a good idea to wrap up the day early and get them inside to the air conditioning. If your dog is exhibiting dehydration symptoms like extreme lethargy, wobbly legs, excessive panting, red (rather than pink) mucous membranes, diarrhea and vomiting, get them to a vet immediately. Those could be signs that the dog is suffering from extreme heat stress.
Believe it or not, pets get sunburns too, especially those with short or light hair coat. And just like with people, it hurts and can even lead to skin cancer. If you are planning to spend a day out in the sun with your furry companion, apply sunscreens every 3-4 hours to the least hair-covered spots: bellies, ears and nose. Use only sunscreens made specifically for pets. Your vet can advise on the product suitable for your pet.
Consider a life vest or jacket
Another pet safety item for your pre-beach to-do list is to let your dog practice her swimming skills in a controlled environment, You want your pet to feel confident in the water before exposing her to the tides and currents at the beach. As Lucy and Holly are tiny, short puppers, they prefer romping in the shoreline breakers or sailing or boating and, of course, wear their life jackets. Strong currents and riptides can sweep a dog out to sea. If you decide to take your doggy sailing or boating, be sure it wears a life vest in a bright color to stay visible and afloat in case of an accident. Always keep an eye on your furry companion when near water.
Take a look at the tide charts—in some regions, the size of the waves can vary drastically based on the time of year—and avoid days when the currents are strong.
Consider putting even good swimmers in a dog life jacket with a chin support flap and bright colors can help keep pups safe in the water. And always keep a close eye on your pup when she’s off-leash. Never turn your back on the ocean,
Just like us, dogs enjoy cooling off in water – a pool, lake or ocean. But be very careful where you choose to let them cool off. No all dogs swim well. And even those that do might not know how to get out of the pool.
Keep your dog’s paws cool.
Pets heat and cool from the bottom up. If you’re out in the sun together, try to keep your pet off of hot surfaces like hot beach sand, cement and asphalt. Not only can it burn paws, but it can also increase body temperature and lead to overheating. It’s also never a good idea to drive around with your dog in the back of a truck – the hot metal can burn paws quickly. When spraying your dog with water, make sure to spray the paws and stomach to cool them down quicker. If you are using a wet towel, it’s better to rub their paws and stomach than top coat.
Protect your pups from parasites.
Staying up to date with dog flea and tick protection also keeps your dogs safe if they have to walk through any woods or vegetation while out on their walks or on their way to the dog beach, and don’t forget their heartworm medicine.
Never leave your pet in the car
Most pets love riding in cars. But neither they nor you would enjoy being left stuck in it somewhere in the parking lot when it heats up to over 100 degrees. You may think leaving your pet in a car for a few minutes is no big deal. Think again. It can take less than 10 minutes to develop heat stroke, even death, in dogs and cats left inside a hot vehicle. Leaving your pets in cars is not only dangerous to your pet, but it is also illegal in 21 states that have specific “hot car” laws. All 50 states have laws on the books protecting animals from animal cruelty, neglect, endangerment and abuse in a variety of forms. So, either take your pet with you or leave it at home. If you see a pet left alone in a car under dangerous conditions, take action immediately – call the police asap and/or try searching for the owner.
Keep your pets away from fireworks.
Summer is the perfect time for barbecues, picnics and overall outdoor celebrations, the biggest being the Fourth of July with fireworks being the most-awaited part. While we all enjoy a big bright bada boom, our pets tend to get frightened and even run away. Besides, fireworks are made with chemicals like potassium nitrate that can poison your curious pet if eaten. If you put on your own fireworks display, keep your pet indoors and clear your yard of the fireworks debris before letting your pup or kitty back outside. When heading to the Fourth of July celebration, leave your fur kids safe from the noise inside a quiet area of your home. While Lucy & Holly love dressing up in their fashionable red, white and blue Fourth of July outfits, they do not like loud, scary fireworks, so they stay safe indoors. You can keep an eye on your fur kid from afar with a pet camera or GPS pet tracking collar.
Now, go have fun with your awesome pets this summer!
Atlanta GirlZ Club®
“We’re all about Fashion, Fun & Fundraising”
Kathi Welch owns Atlanta GirlZ Club® an influential pet Fashion, Fun & Fundraising brand featuring her fashionable doggie models, Lucy and Holly. As writers and contributors for several outlets and with their significant high profile and social media following, these GirlZ are well known pet influencers and public figures. They host and emcee events, are brand ambassadors and couture fashion models, as well as fashion print and runway models. Kathi and Lucy also have experience and backgrounds working in television. Lucy and Holly are professionally trained. They are trendy influencers in the pet community and have been featured on CNN, appeared on The Weather Channel and in YouTube videos and two books. Atlanta GirlZ Club® burst onto the Atlanta Pet Lifestyle Scene over a decade ago and use their celebrity to shine a light on animal welfare, animal rescues and fundraising efforts. Their brand motto is “We’re all about Fashion, Fun & Fundraising.” Their commitment and core mission is fundraising for animals in need.