A Vet Reveals The 5 Things You Need To Know To Keep Your Pup Healthy This Summer

As far as I'm concerned, summer is basically just a season made to spend more time than ever with your furry pup, since the days are longer and the grass is practically begging to be rolled around in. After all, they don't call it the "dog days of summer" for nothing, right? While you're busy relaxing with your dog after a ruff day at work (I had to, I'm sorry), it's important that you know exactly how to keep your dog healthy in the summer heat, so you can both make the most of the best season of the year.

In an interview with Elite Daily, Dr. Janice Elenbaas, a retired veterinary chiropractor and founder of Lucky Dog Cuisine, shares some of the best ways to make your pup's summer the safest one yet. It can seem a little daunting at first to make sure your dog is as ready to celebrate the summer as you are, but a few simple reminders can help you both have peace of mind, even when the temperatures start soaring.

Once you're up to speed on doggy sunscreen and fashionable puppy sandals (yes, you read that right, and they are one of the cutest things ever), you'll be ready to pawsitively bask in the long summer nights with your fur baby at your side. Here are five tips for keeping your pupper safe and healthy all summer long.

Learn The Signs Of Heat Stroke

“Seventy degrees is fine for dogs, but anything over 80 degrees makes it harder for a dog to regulate its temperature,” Dr. Elenbaas tells Elite Daily. If you notice any unusual behaviors in your dog, like excessive panting or difficulty breathing, she says, definitely check in to make sure everything is OK. And just to be safe, try to get your fur baby somewhere cool ASAP.

If you're worried your dog might be going through something serious, it’s helpful to know exactly what to look for when watching for the warning signs of heat stroke. If your furry baby develops bloody diarrhea, begins vomiting, or is weaker than usual, check them out just in case. Is your pooch an adorable pug? Be extra careful, because according to the ASPCA, her flat face may make it harder for her to pant, which can increase her risk of heat stroke.

Protect That Precious Pup Skin

Pups, especially those with shorter hair or whose long hair has recently been trimmed for the summer heat, can actually get sunburned just like you can. Kristina Knox, a veterinary technician at Cumberland Animal Clinic in Georgia, told CNN that “after 30 minutes in the sun or more, you're going to have problems." She recommended preventing puppy sunburn by applying zinc-free sunscreen for infants, but to also be sure that your doggo doesn't lick the sunscreen off.

Doggie bug repellent is also important: According to Dr. Elenbaas, natural ingredients like citronella and lemongrass can help ward off unwanted critters. Again, pay close attention to the ingredients; it's best to avoid any sprays that have chemicals like propylene glycol or DEET in them, Elenbaas says, as those can be too harsh for your pup's skin.

Enjoy The Water Together — With Caution

I've personally never owned a dog that loved to swim, and according to Dr. Elenbaas, this can be explained by a dog's paws: A web-footed canine is more naturally inclined to want to swim.

If your dog is timid around the water, there are some gentle steps you can take to guide them in. Try dressing your fur baby in a small life jacket, Elenbaas recommends, but be sure not to push things too far. "If your dog still resists swimming after you test the waters with them, then respect that," she tells Elite Daily.

Keep Their Toes Doggone Cool

After you've applied the sunscreen and the insect repellent, don't forget to protect your pup's paw pads. "Even walking on dark pavement from your car to grass can cause a burn," Dr. Elenbaas cautions.

A good way to make sure the pavement is safe to walk on is feeling it with your own hand. If it's too hot for you, it's certainly too hot for a dog's unprotected toes (good news: dog sandals are a thing).

Munch On Pup-Safe Goodies

Unlimited access to fresh water is crucial, according to Dr. Elenbaas. But summertime is also peak barbecue season, which means, if your pup is anything like mine, he'll be scrounging for any dropped scraps as soon as he spots them.

"Accidental poisoning is common during the summer because people are picnicking and don’t actually know what’s poisonous for pets," Justine Lee, DVM, a board-certified veterinary emergency critical care specialist, told Health. So along with keeping an eye out for the usual dog dangers like chocolate, remember that corn on the cob can easily get caught in your canine's throat.

With these useful tips, you can rest assured that your pup is as safe as can be. Don't stop retrievin' until you're both completely exhausted from the summer fun!