Summertime is a great time for the Great Outdoors with your pet. But before you hit the beach, lake, pool or trails, here are some tips and tricks to keep your little family members safe so you both have more fun in the sun!

Going to the beach? Fantastic idea! One pro-tip, though: it’ll be tempting, but make sure Fido doesn’t lap up ocean water. As you know, ocean water’s salty and will dehydrate him, possibly very quickly if he drinks too much. Make sure to keep plenty of fresh water both for you & him as you frolic in the sand.

Swimming at the lake or beach? Remember cold water can hurt – if your dog has arthritis, exposure to cold water can irritate it. Also, there are stones and potential other debris under the water’s surface, and dogs may not communicate pain immediately, so make sure you check in on your pup’s temperment during and after a swim. Plus, when you’re done, it’s important to clear debris from their coat and paws as well as moisture from their ears to prevent critters, skin irritation, and ear aches.

Going boating? Remember in all boating or offshore activities – and yes, even on a beach with strong riptides! – a life vest is a good idea for every little one in your party, even your four-legged family members. Please note: not all dog breeds can swim. Some weren’t bred to! Corgis and pugs are notorious non-swimmers. A life vest is a snug way to let your little one play safely.

Going for a hike? Consider putting bells on his collar to alert potential predators & wildlife that he’s coming! That keeps confrontations with other critters at bay and you worry-free. Keep in mind, if you’re hiking in bear country, bears are most active at dawn and dusk, so plan your hike accordingly. No sense in poking the beast!

Going camping? Much as we all like to pretend it doesn’t happen, if there’s a desert: there are scorpions. If your little one gets stung, here’s what you need to do:

  1. Stay calm. You’re a great mom or dad! You’re reading this in preparation or mid-activity, so to paraphrase “Don’t Tell Mom The Babysitter’s Dead,” you’re right on top of this, Rose.
  2. Capture the scorpion, if possible, under a glass or lid. If not possible, skip and go ahead to step 3. Don’t worry. Wait, you followed step one. You’re already in charge.
  3. Wash the area.
  4. Apply a cold compress for ten minutes
  5. After ten minutes, let it breathe for ten more minutes.
  6. Reapply the compress with fresh ice.
  7. If your pet is stung in the tail or leg, keep the limb elevated to heart level – this keeps the venom from flowing into the circulatory system.
  8. If you can safely remove the stinger with tweezers, then do it.

Take the pet to the nearest vet, and if you caught it, the scorpion, too. This can help the vet determine the severity of the pet’s condition.

Tick Attack? What if you get home and see your little friend made a little friend of his own? If your puppy or kitty picked up a tick, here’s a quickie method to get it out of places tweezers can’t touch:

  1. Dab a cotton ball in liquid soap.
  2. Then cover the tick with the cotton ball and swab it for about 20 seconds.
  3. Presto chango! When you lift the cotton ball, the tick will be stuck to it! 

For more outdoor pet tips, you can always check in with your vet or with the ASPCA. Have fun in the sun & enjoy all that you and your pet can explore together!