Dog and woman cuddling by campfireThis summer, we hope you’re out and about enjoying nature with your dog. At Poulsbo Animal Clinic, we want to make sure owners have the right information to protect their pets while taking in the great outdoors. That’s why we’ve compiled some outdoor pet safety tips for both land and water.

Outdoor Pet Safety on Land

If you and your dog are considering a hike or walk along one of Poulsbo’s many trails, there are some basics to know when it comes to outdoor pet safety:

Basic training – Whether hiking or playing at the dog park, your pet should know basic obedience commands, such as come, stay, and leave it. Your dog’s reliable training makes them a better canine citizen and ensures their safety in the face of uncertainty.

Water – Tote plenty of fresh water for both of you. Dehydration can occur at any time, but especially during the summer, you should be prepared to prevent overheating.

First aid kit – Pack a pet first aid kit and know how to administer basic first aid on the trail. This can mean the difference between a minor problem and potential disaster. You can even have your dog carry the kit in their own doggie day pack.

Sun safety – Light-colored and thin-skinned dogs are susceptible to the sun’s rays and may be at risk for sunburn. Purchase a pet sunscreen (human products are too harsh), and take frequent breaks in the shade.

ID tags and microchipping – Even the most well-behaved dog can get lost in the great outdoors, so make sure your pet has a collar and tags and that you’ve invested in microchipping. Confirm that your information is current for both.

Parasite protection – Ticks, fleas, and mosquitoes are all risks for your dog. Intestinal parasites also thrive in natural water sources, such as creeks or ponds. Don’t let these pests get ahold of your pet – make sure monthly parasite prevention is in order before you leave.

Pet Safety on the Water

In our town, spending time on the water is a foregone conclusion. However, not all dogs are born to swim. Here are a few tips on water safety with your dog:

Basic swim instruction – Before hitting the water with your dog, make sure they can swim. No, really! Not all dogs automatically know how to do this, and it pays to go slowly. Start in a shallow area, and keep your dog leashed while they learn. Stay positive!

Life vest – A Coast Guard-approved life vest is imperative if your dog will be in deep water or strong currents. Even good swimmers can be swept away unexpectedly.

Fencing – If you have a pool, make sure it’s fenced off to keep your dog (and kids) out of harm’s way. Pools should have stairs and a ramp to provide your dog with options about where and how to get out. Also make sure the cement area surrounding the pool is cool enough for your dog’s paws.

Hydration – Remember to provide plenty of fresh drinking water, even when your dog is spending time in the water. Drinking from the ocean or pool doesn’t provide proper hydration, and dehydration puts your dog at risk for overheating.

Whether you’re on land or water, you’ll also want to check with us about proper vaccinations. If you’re spending time with your dog outdoors, infectious diseases, such as leptospirosis and distemper, can wreak havoc on your dog’s health.

We hope these outdoor pet safety tips have been useful. If you have any questions about your pet this summer, please give us a call!