Your ultimate Summer guide for dogs is here! The season of Summer is marked by warm weather and flowers in full bloom. The sky turns bright blue as the occasional thunderstorm rolls by. With the cold and the rain out of the way, you and your dog are free to roam the great outdoors and spend a lot of time together. That’s our favorite part! These warmer months are a much needed opportunity for your pup to get in great adventures and fresh-air exercise. Whether your heading to a new-found dog park in the neighborhood or Fido is tagging along for a full-blown vacation, you’re bound to create lasting memories.

     Keeping your dog in mind, Summer presents unique features like hotter weather, swimming, pesky bugs, fun holidays and more. Each season throughout the year has different characteristics and, depending where you live, can be quite distinct. So how do you prepare for the best Summer yet with Fido? This Summer guide for dogs will give you every detail you need to know. Plus, we’ve picked out the best products on the market to help you along the way.

table of contents

Summer Cautions for Dogs

1. Overheating

Key signs of overheating in dogs

  • heavy panting
  • bright tongue
  • vomiting
  • thick saliva

     Just like humans, dogs can overheat during the summer months because the sun will get relentless during outdoor activities. Dogs are stuck with their fur coats; which tend to soak up heat like a sponge and trap it close to their body. Keep in mind that just because you’re not too hot, that doesn’t mean Fido is comfortable. It’s important to watch out for signs of overheating as your pup plays out in the yard or follows you on a nice walk.

     In the end, you never want your dog to get so hot that they overheat and succumb to illness. Fortunately, if you’re cautious, you can try to keep them comfortable, even if the sun is blazing down.

When is it too hot for dogs?

     Most dogs are okay to be outside in weather up to 90 degrees Fahrenheit as long as you have water and shade readily available. However, those with thicker coats of fur get heat trapped close to their body without any escape. Plus, dogs don’t sweat, instead they release heat through panting. Breeds with short noses, like the pug, will be more prone to overheating because it is difficult for them to pant and release heat.  

How to avoid overheating in dogs

     With tons of exciting things to do outside during the Summer, it can get a bit tricky trying to monitor your furbaby for signs of overheating. That’s why it’s important to give them the tools to avoid the issue in the first place. Cooling water bowls, cooling dog mats, elevated beds, and ice bandannas allow you, as an owner, to create a hassle-free solution. On particularly hot and dry days, it will be best to even limit the amount of time your pup spends outside. Although dogs have pretty good natural instincts to find shade and relax, your yard may not have that option. Especially if you are planning an outing with Fido, the first step is to always check the forecasted weather.

Shade Options

     Having readily available shade options for your dog to relax under is the least expensive way to help prevent overheating. That’s because many of us already have trees, brush, and deck awnings that inherently do the trick. Although, you might live in a more open environment where nothing shaded is in sight. If that’s the case, you’ll need to either follow your dog outside and monitor them or look into getting a product that provides a covered area. You can find more in-depth information and see our top picks of shade-giving products at Backyard Shade Options for Your Dog. These can also come in handy when looking to protect your pup from sunburn.

     Keep in mind, shade is not a full-proof way to prevent heat exhaustion in dogs. The idea is for it to work in tandem with cooling water bowls and other features.

Cooling Water Bowl

     Having cool water easily accessible to your dog is essential to minimize their risk of overheating. The cooler water helps to drop their body temperature from the inside out and keeps them hydrated. Especially during the Summer, this means having a water bowl outside for your dog as well. But, how do you keep that water nice a cold for them? Your answer: a cooling water bowl.

Cool Pup Freezable Water Bowl

     The Cool Pup Freezable Water Bowl is a great, simple way to keep your dog cool during the summer. Unfortunately, when you put a water bowl outside and it starts to get warm, your dog doesn’t want to drink it at all, and can we blame them? Your dog is way more likely to stay hydrated if their water is constantly cold. This freezable bowl keeps your dog’s water cool even if it’s sitting outside with them.

     Made from BPA free acrylic, it’s durable, and safe for them. Simply pop the bowl in the freezer for a few hours, or simply leave it in the freezer until days when your dog’s going to be outside. It’ll slowly thaw throughout the day, keeping your dog’s water cool. However, this is not our only favorite cooling water bowl. To check out all our pro picks, head on over to The Best Cooling Water Bowls.

     This bowl is fairly inexpensive, and of course very easy to use. We highly recommend it for any pet parent looking for an easy solution to their dog’s warming water. This bowl is 8.6″ x 8.4″ x 1.2″. It’ll hold 16 oz. (2 cups). To wash it, simply hand wash.

Cooling Dog Mat

     When dogs get too hot, they naturally find a cooler spot to lay down and recuperate. Most of the time, this means a nice shaded spot in the grass. However, not all yards are well-equipped with luscious grass and trees large enough to give constant shade. Depending on where you live, your backyard may look more like the Gobi desert. Beautiful? Yes. Good for shade? Not quite. Even inside the home, both you and your dog can be sweating up a storm. That’s where a cooling dog mat can come in handy. Their cooling effects penetrate your pup’s coat while they take a breather.

American Kennel Club Reversible Cooling Mat

      Cooling dog beds are an easy and effective way to keep your dog cool during the summer. How do they work? The mat is filled with gel that’s cool to the touch. It doesn’t require batteries, refrigeration, or water! Simply lay it out for them, and they’ll cool down.

      No two cooling mats are the same, so why pick this one? Well, it’s made by the American Kennel Club, and is a no brainer in our opinion. This mat is easy to clean, effective, and is water resistant, as well as dirt resistant.

     The American Kennel Club Reversible Cooling Mat comes in four different patterns: striped, chevron, paw print, and herringbone. Even better, you’ll have your choice between sizes medium and large. The medium size is 20″ x 16″ and is best for small to medium breed dogs like Shih Tzus, Miniature Poodles, or Border Collies. The large size is 26″ x 20″ and will be perfect for large breeds like the Dobermann, Golden Retriever, or Australian Shepherd. In the end, each mat will cost you under $20.

Elevated Cooling Dog Bed

     Outdoor decks and poolside pavement can get pretty hot as the Summer sun beats down. Here’s a challenge, go ahead and try walking across them barefoot! Now imagine what it must feel like when your dog tries to lay down on it, ouch! Even in the house, especially if you don’t have air conditioning, the floor can become a magnet as the heat settles.

     Cooling dog beds are elevated from the ground so that your dog never-again has to directly lay on the sun-baked deck. Instead, they will perch comfortably on a sturdy dog bed that rises a couple inches from the ground. This allows air to flow underneath the bed and keep your furbaby cool. 

K&H Elevated Bed

      Elevated dog beds are a great way to keep cool during the summer. As you can probably imagine, a cozy little plush bed is only going to make Fido hotter. Elevated dog beds allow for more air flow, giving your pooch a cool, comfortable place to lay out.

      The K&H Elevated Bed is one of our favorites. Made of water resistant, 600 Denier fabric, it’s a perfect outdoor place for your dog to hangout. Put it out by the pool, on the backyard, or even in the house.

      This dog bed has a mesh center that will keep air flowing all around your pooch while they’re laying out. Additionally, it has non-skid rubber feet allowing it to stay in place no matter what your pup does around the bed.

       If you order from Amazon, you can purchase this bed in one of four sizes. Each size has tool-free assembly, and has a one-year manufacturer’s limited warranty. We highly recommend this pet bed for dogs that spend a lot of time in the summer lounging around. This will help them stay cool, and keep them comfortable! If it doesn’t tickle your fancy, there are other great elevated dog bed options in The Best Elevated Dog Beds. There, you can compare and contrast lots of options to keep your pup cool outdoors.

Sizing:

  • Small: 17″ x 22″ x 7″
  • Medium: 25″ x 32″ x 7″
  • Large: 30″ x 442″ x 7″
  • XL: 32″ x 50″ x 9″

Ice Bandanna

     Energetic dog breeds like the Australian Shepherd and Border Collie are less likely to take a break when they get hot. Especially with all that gorgeous fur, they are magnets for heat exhaustion. If you know your pooch is more of the active kind, a cooling dog mat or cooling dog bed is not going to help as much as you want it to. Instead, you will need something that has a cooling effect and is able to travel will them on adventures. This is where an ice bandanna is extremely helpful. All you have to do is fit is snuggly (but not too tight) around the neck and presto! Fido now has a new pale to help keep them cool and comfortable on-the-go. We would recommend investing in one of these bandannas especially if you are heading to the park.

All For Paws Chill Out Ice Bandanna

      If your dog is constantly running around and on the go, it’s going to be pretty hard for you to help them cool down. They may not want to stop playing to get a drink of water, nor will they want to lay down on a bed. The ice bandanna will be a lifesaver for you. It’s under $10, and goes everywhere your dog goes! All you have to do is soak the bandanna in water before your pooch goes outside, it’ll slowly cool them down, and help to prevent overheating. The bandanna is filled with similar cooling technology as the cooling mat. It’s completely non-toxic, and doesn’t require any additional refrigeration.

     This bandanna is available in three sizes, suitable for any pup. The small is 7.9″ x 7.9″ the medium is 11″ x 11″, and the large is 17.7″ x 17.7″. Of course, because it’s a bandanna, it’s completely adjustable, and very comfortable for dogs. Simply tie it in the back, and it’ll stay on all day! We highly recommend this bandanna for dogs that are constantly running around outside when it’s hot out. It’ll help to prevent overheating, and is surprisingly effective.

2. Hot Pavement and Decks

Signs of burned dog paws

  • Limping or refusal to walk
  • Paw pads are darker than normal
  • Blisters or redness
  • Your dog is licking their paws
  • Parts of paw pad are missing

     Watching out for hot pavement isn’t always instinctual for us. In fact, we’ve all accidentally gone out in our driveways barefoot and deeply regretted it. Keep in mind that unlike us, your dog doesn’t really have the option to throw on shoes before they go outside. Additionally, just because your dog doesn’t look like they’re in pain, that doesn’t mean that the ground is cool enough for them.

When is the pavement or deck too hot for dogs?

      To test if the pavement or deck is too hot for your dog, you have to test it out first. Take a moment to go out barefoot. If you start to become uncomfortable from the hot ground within 5 seconds, it will burn your dog’s paw pads. If your pup manages to burn their paws, it’ll make it very painful for them to get around for several days.

How to avoid burned dog paws

      The best way to help your dog avoid getting their paws burned on the hot pavement or deck is to understand what the weather has been like. Most of the time, letting Fido out in the early morning or evening will be hassle-free because the sun is not at its peak. Therefore, the pavement and deck have either yet to heat up or have since cold down.

      However, if the sun has been out with harsh rays that are still going strong, test the ground before you swing open the door for your pup. We even suggest having a doormat or towel right outside the door for you dog to safely step out onto. Pay special attention to pavement and decks surrounding the pool because water tends to amplify the amount of rays that area is exposed to. Great for tanning, not great for those little doggie paws!

Dog Booties

     All homes and yards are different and you may not have a safe patch of grass for your dog to scamper onto. In this case, investing in a good, durable pair of all-weather booties is their best protection. Dog boots place a layer of fabric between their bare paws and the ground, greatly diminishing the effect of burning. Those booties will be well worth the price because you can use them throughout the year in all sorts of weather conditions. Especially during the winter, with the snow and ice, you’ll find they will come in handy to keep your dog from slipping or getting ice-burn.

Bark Brite’s Neoprene Paw Protectors

     Bark Brite’s Neoprene Paw Protectors are a great way to protect your pup’s paws during the summer. If you know you’re going to be taking Fido for walks, they’re a must-have for the summer. We find that because they’re made of Neoprene, they’re much more comfortable for dogs. They cling to the paws to create a natural feeling for them. They also have a rubber sole that provides stable tread on multiple surfaces. Additionally, the velcro, adjustable straps are made with a reflective stripe to provide safe visibility during the early morning or evening hours.

     These booties will of course protect your dog’s paws from getting burnt in the hot sun. They’re also great during snow storms, giving your dog traction on slippery surfaces.. Although we recommend them for outings on a hot deck or pavement, they will not be durable enough for heavy activity. If you’re looking for dog boots or shoes that run double duty and can withstand other activities, check out these Hiking Necessities for Dogs. There you will find all-terrain shoes, as well as other products for your outdoorsy adventures.

     You can fully expect that your dog won’t like these booties (or any shoes) if this is the first time they’ve tried shoes on. But after awhile, they should become a bit more comfortable with them. Especially since Bark Brite’s Neoprene Paw Protectors are one of the more comfortable dog shoes you’ll run across. On their first wear, start by playing fetch with your dog. Your pup will be motivated to walk and run to fetch the toy, making them use the boots as intended.

Sizing:

     All sizes fit very snug and have a spandex-like fit to keep your pup comfortable. Keep in mind that most customers say they run pretty small and may not be your best option for dogs with very large paws. If you want your pup to have a looser fit, you can order the next size up.

  • Small: 2.5″ x 2.75″; ideal for smaller breeds such as small Terriors, Shih Tzus, Bulldogs, and Corgis.
  • Medium: 3.0″ x 3.0″; ideal for medium sized breeds such as small Labs, small Huskies, and Border Collies
  • Large: 3.5″ x 3.5″; ideal for larger breeds such as Golden Retrievers and Labs.
  • Extra Large: 4.0″ x 3.75″; ideal for large breeds such as German Shepherds, Dobermans, and Rottweilers.
  • XX-Large: 4.5″ x 4.5″; ideal for extra large breeds such as Great Danes, Saint Bernard’s, and Mastiffs.

3. Dog Sunburn

Signs of Sunburn on Dogs

  • Skin has a pink coloring
  • Dog is sensitive to your touch
  • Hair loss
  • Dry, cracked skin around the edges

     This is very important: dogs burn just like humans! While they do have a bit more protection than us due to their fur, they still have the ability to burn. Their nose, paws, and belly will be the areas most prone to burning. If you notice your dog’s skin getting a bit red during the summer months, it’s important to take the necessary steps to prevent future or more severe burning.

     Partial or completely hairless dogs are even more prone to getting burned because their skin is left completely exposed. As a responsibly conscious owner you may already be aware of this, but these special breeds absolutely need shade options and even dog sunscreen.

Why does it matter?

     Dogs will eagerly be out in the sun without a care in the world, that’s why you need to be their protector. Even in the shade, sunburn is possible. Yes, a little sunburn may not be anything to freight over, but it will cause your dog to be uncomfortable and shy away from your touch. Severe and/or frequent sunburn in dogs can lead to skin cancer. In fact, skin cancer is one of the most frequent cancers found in canines.

How to avoid dog sunburn

     The first aspect to look into is shade. Does your yard or vacation location have an area protected from the sun? If not, we highly recommend checking out these reviewed products at Backyard Shade Options for Your Dog. The unfortunate reality is that shade is only a temporary retreat and most dogs are not going to just lay there the whole time. That’s why the second most important way to protect your pup from the sun is dog sunscreen. You can also look into dog hats and swimsuits for a more fashionable and permanent approach.

Dog Sunscreen

     Dog sunscreens are specifically formulated with safe ingredients that won’t disrupt their skin’s pH balance. It will not be possible for you to share your human sunscreen with Fido. That is, unless you like playing Russian Roulette with your dog’s possible reactions to the chemicals (incredibly not advised). Zinc oxide can be found in common household items, one of which include sunscreen. If your dog ingests it, they are at a high risk of obtaining zinc oxide poisoning. The symptoms commonly include:

  • Lethargy, weakness, loss of appetite
  • Anemia
  • Vomiting
  • Rapid breathing
  • Seizures
  • Arrhythmia
  • Discolored urine

     Now-a-days, there are lots of great dog sunscreens on the market as reasonable prices. They come in spray and rub-on applications; which you can choose depending on the temperament of your pup. We recommend getting one that is at least SPF 15 protection. Although we present our #1 favorite dog sunscreen and nose protectant below, you can always check out The Best Dog Sunscreen for more options and further tips on sunscreen for dogs.

Warren London Dog Sunscreen

     Warren London has a fantastic dog sunscreen. All of Warren London’s products are not only safe for dogs, but safe for humans as well! They’re human grade, and human tested. Their dog sunscreen is made right here in the USA with all natural ingredients. It’s SPF 15, non-greasy, non-oily, and dries quickly, keeping your dog from licking off the sunscreen before it has a chance to do its job. This sunscreen contains healthful ingredients such as aloe vera, giving your pup a soothing, healthy sunscreen that will protect them all summer long!

My Dog Nose Protectant

     The My Dog Nose Protectant is a must-have for all breeds that spend a significant amount of time outdoors during the Summer months. Oftentimes, the first part of your pup to burn is their nose (just like humans). It’s not a good idea to put regular sunscreen on their nose, but this sun protectant is made specifically for their sensitive snout.

     This cream is non-toxic, natural, and safe for them to ingest. It’s paraben free, adds moisture, blocks the sun’s rays, and works to heal prior damage! This is the perfect way to not only heal your dog’s nose, but to prevent future damage caused by the sun’s harmful rays. When you order from Amazon you’ll receive a convenient, resealable packaging that looks like lip balm; perfect for taking to the beach or the lake!

Dog Swimsuits

      Dog swim or bathing suits will give your dog extra, reliable sun protection. Unlike some sunscreens, the fabric will never wear-off. Even better, it will help keep the pesky beach sand out of your pup’s fur. Getting sand matted into their fur is no fun because it will cause Fido to itch, scratch, and create rashes. Lord help whoever has to clean out that sand afterwards! Luckily, have a well-fitted dog swimsuit keeps a lot of that sand out.

EzyDog Rashguard

     The EzyDog Rashguard wraps functionality, surfer-style, and comfort into one nicely-priced package. With 50+ UV protection, its fabric extends down the back of your pup and leaves their bottom-half free for bathroom breaks. Plus, the bright orange color helps you to easily spot your furbaby among the surf and sand.

     This dog swim suit comes in a range of sizes, but it’s stretchy fabric will help if your dog grows a bit. To find further detailed information on the EzyDog Rashguard (plus other excellent swim suit choices for dogs) head over to The Best Dog Swim Suits.  There, we explain all the size options and even more benefits.

4. Grilling and Cookout Safety

Top cookout dangers for dogs

  • Flammable grill components
  • Grease dripping from the grill
  • Grilling utensils
  • Toxic cookout foods
  • Alcoholic beverages

     When it comes to the warmer months, grilling is a staple in most American households. There’s just something about wielding fire to add a nice chard flavor to our foods! Even better, cookouts and barbecues can be planned with family and friends to enjoy a nice sunny afternoon or 4th of July. With a dog around, they will be joining in on the fun. However, you will need to keep an eye on a couple of things to keep Fido safe.

Cookout Safety Overview

     First and foremost, keep your dog at least 3 feet away from any lit gas or charcoal grill. This is in case of flair-ups or grease splatters. The last thing you want is for a great grilling session to turn into an accidental burned dog session. The second most important thing to watch out for is those famous cookout foods; many of which are harmful to your dog when eaten. More than likely, you’re cookout guests won’t think twice before handing over a little morsel to Fido. Plus, any food laying around will become a prime target in the eyes of your dog.

     This overview of cookout safety for dogs skims the top cautions to be aware of. However, if you are craving more in-depth information about why these foods are harmful, how to keep Fido from eating them, or even how to handle an accidental burn on your pup; make sure to head over to Backyard Barbecue Safety with your Dog.

Cookout foods harmful to dogs

  • Bone-in meats
  • Hot dogs
  • Corn on the cob
  • Anything in the onion family
  • Avocado
  • Grapes
  • Deserts
  • Alcohol
  • Chips and pretzels

5. Summer Bugs and Bug Bites

Summer bugs that can affect your dog

  • Fleas
  • Ticks
  • Mosquitoes
  • Bot flies

Fleas

     Fleas are all-too-common for dogs. Their little, powerful insect legs enable fleas to jump onto your pup from the surrounding environment or other pets. Not only do they become an unsightly nuisance, but their bites are extremely itchy for your pup. For more sensitive or flea-allergic dogs, the severity of these bites worsen. They can lead to:

  • Scratching
  • Hair loss
  • Inflammation
  • Secondary skin infections

     To find out if your furbaby has fleas, your first sign is the itching. However, it requires some investigation before jumping to conclusions. Check the areas of your dog that are least exposed to light. Fleas do not like light, so underneath the armpits and groin are prime target areas. You are looking for copper-colored insects about the size of a pinhead. You may also spot little black specks known as flea dirt. This “dirt” is actually flea feces and may be scattered on the surface of your dog’s skin. Where there is flea dirt, there are fleas. For a more conclusive answer, take a trip to the vet.

Ticks

     Ticks are a huge concern in the summer months. These little buggers are hard to spot, and even harder to remove. Which is why it’s so important to do your part to prevent ticks from making their new home on your pup. If a tick bites your dog, and it goes unnoticed, it can lead to tick paralysis, lyme disease, and rocky mountain spotted fever. If you spot any of the following symptoms, seek vet care immediately:

  • unsteadiness
  • loss of appetite
  • pupil dilation
  • excessive drooling
  • vomiting
  • paralysis

     To find out more about ticks, check out our all-inclusive tick guide for dogs here.

How to keep the bugs off your dog

     Anytime your dog heads outside during the Summer, they are prone to the bugs that lie-in-wait. Especially in the evening as the sun dips down, those pesky mosquitoes are going to come at full force. Even inside the home, bugs can slip inside through open windows and cracks in the doorway. Most dog owners know to check for bugs, especially ticks, after their dog comes inside. However, how can you stop the bugs from attacking in the first place? That’s where dog-friendly insect repellent, flea collars, and other handy products come to help.

Insect Repellent Spray for Dogs

     Ever forget to put on bug spray before heading out to the campfire or hiking trail? The resulting clusters of bug bites become a nuisance for weeks on end. However, insects are not picky about who or what they go after; this means they target your dog as well. Dogs with thicker fur coats may have a little extra initial protection, but ultimately that long fur just helps to hide bugs that hide underneath. Unfortunately, using human bug spray on dogs is a huge no-no. The chemicals they contain are unsettling (even to us humans).

     Luckily, there are some effective bug sprays for dogs out there that keeps the bites at bay and won’t cause any harmful reactions. Sprays are the easiest form of insect repellent to use. They are quick to apply and have no added weight like a collar that may drive your pup nuts.

Vet Organic Ecobug Spray

     The Vet Organic Ecobug Spray is a wonderful choice for keeping fleas, ticks, mites, and mosquitoes away from your dog. Whereas many bug repellents rely on chemicals, this one takes care of the problem with the power of nature. It uses cedar wood oil, vitamin E, peppermint oil, and rosemary oil; which our bug enemies absolutely despise. Plus, you’ll be happy to know it is USA-made.

     It comes in an 8oz. spray bottle, which will emit a mist over your dog’s coat to act as a barrier. We recommend this option for any eco-conscious owner that wants to steer clear of synthetic chemicals on their dog. Plus, the spray is easy to apply on even the most energetic pups.

Flea and Tick Collar

     For more consistent flea and tick prevention, specially formulated flea and tick collars tend to do the trick. If your dog doesn’t mind having an extra layer of collar around their neck, these bad boys will give you a worry-free solution (especially if Fido is constantly getting into the backyard brush pile). Most brands will specifically tell you how long they last and when to replace them.

Seresto Flea & Tick Collar

     The Seresto Flea & Tick Collar is one of the most popular tick prevention products out there. Rather than treating your pup with liquid prevention that they may ultimately lick off, this collar keeps ticks & fleas away for a full 8 months. This product has a non-greasy formula that won’t get all over your hands! It can’t be licked off, and it’s incredibly effective.

    This collar uses a polymer matrix design that will constantly be releasing two ingredients: imidacloprid and flumethrin. These ingredients work together to not only kill ticks & fleas, but to keep them away as well. Once the collar is on, your pup will be free from fleas & ticks after 24 hours. We highly recommend this collar to any dog owner that will be taking their pup outside during the summer months and wants a leave-on-and-forget option for bug protection.

Dog Swimming and Water Play

     One of the best ways your dog can cool off this Summer is by splashing around in some nice, refreshing water. This may include the backyard family pool, a specific doggie pool that’s easy to set up, the lake down the road, or the ocean on a beach vacation. Yes, some dogs refuse to get their skin and fur wet, but for many it’s a special treat loaded with new fun. After all, the Summer months only come once a year!

The benefits of swimming for dogs

  • Unique activity to add excitement
  • Low-impact exercise for weight loss or muscle building
  • Great for dogs with arthritis
  • Recommended for post-surgery in moderation

     One of the best aspects of swimming and water play for dogs is the low-impact exercise it provides. The activity ultimately helps to build those pup muscles and shed some extra weight. Plus, for those pups with arthritis or in the need of some post-surgery movement, hydrotherapy is going to help them the most. We highly recommend letting your dog partake in swimming fun. You’ll feel a great sense of joy as they enjoy a very special activity. Whether you have a couple products already or are just getting started, these are the things you will want to have around for dog water play.

Life Vests

     Many pup parents don’t bother to purchase life vests for their furry friends. After all, dogs did invent the doggy paddle, right? Well, unfortunately, drowning is still a very real risk for dogs, even if they are expert swimmers. Life jackets will keep your dog afloat even if they do get tired out in the water. They can doggy paddle to get from place to place, and you can have peace of mind knowing that your dog will still be able to float while taking a little rest. Whether or not your dog has a life jacket on, it’s still crucial to keep an eye on your dog when they’re in the water.

Outward Hound Ripstop

     Outward Hound is a very reputable brand in the dog world. From toys, to supplies, and even life jackets! The Outward Hound Ripstop is one of the most popular life vests on the market. As you can probably guess, this life jacket is highly visible, no matter what kind of what your pup is swimming in. Additionally, it has reflective accents all over to make your pup highly visible.

     The Ripstop has two handles that make it very easy to lift your dog out of the water when they need a hand. It has floats under their neck, as well as around their chest, ensuring that their body, and their head stays above water.

     This design is great for dogs of just about any size. It’s fairly adjustable, affordable, and comfortable for most breed types. It’s available in five sizes, giving you plenty of options. For the girth, measure the widest part of your dog. If your like us, you probably want to compare this dog life jacket to other options. Head on over to The Best Life Jackets for Your Dog to see all our pro picks and how they can help keep Fido safe.

Sizing:

  • XS: for dogs 5-15 lbs and 11-15″ girth
  • S: for dogs 15-30 lbs and 15-30″ girth
  • M: for dogs 30-55 lbs and 30-55″ girth
  • L: for dogs 55-85 lbs and 55-85″ girth
  • XL: for dogs 85-100 lbs and 85-100″ girth

Water Toys

     There are tons of water toys on the market designed specifically for dogs. They’ll keep your pup entertained, engaged, and let them have fun in the water! Even if your dog isn’t a huge swimmer, a water toy may just entice them to make a splash. You can take water toys to the beach, lake, or just to use in a swimming pool! Below, we pulled out our absolute favorite dog water toy that floats, but for even more options check out The Top Water Toys.

Kurgo Skipping Stones

     Kurgo Skipping Stones are one of our all-time favorite water toys. Even better, when summer is over, you can use it on the ground as well. This toy works much like skipping stones. You can throw it out on the water and it’ll skip out. This toy will captivate your dog’s attention and encourage them to swim around! As you can probably assume, these toys float, and are bright colors, making it easy for your dog to find out on the water. They’re also shaped perfectly for your dog’s mouth. They can easily pick it up and swim back to you.

Buying Tip: You will receive a 2-pack of this item through Amazon

      The Kurgo Skipping stones are waterproof, non-toxic, and dishwasher safe. No matter how sandy, muddy, or dirty they get, you’ll always have an easy way to clean them. Additionally, you can let your dog chew on them as much as they want. They’re made from safe, durable rubber that makes them great chew toys when your dog is finished swimming! Each ‘stone’ is 3″ x 2″ x 1.5″; highly recommended for medium and average sized breeds.

Dog Pool

     Having a home with a pool in the yard is quite expensive. If you don’t have children that are going to use it regularly, it won’t be worth the cost and upkeep. But, on the other hand, your family dog would use it every chance they get on a hot Summer day. Instead of breaking the bank, why not try out a small, portable dog pool? Not only can you allow your dog to cool off and get some low-impact exercise, but you can use it as a bathing tool. While some dog pools are beyond an ideal price range, we found the best for around $50.

KOPEKS Heavy Duty Outdoor Pool

     The KOPEKS Round Heavy Duty PVC Outdoor Pool comes in two sizes: medium and large. The medium size measures 32” in diameter and has a depth of 8”. The large size measures 47” in diameter and has a depth of 12”. Both these sizes are ideal for most dog breeds, but you may want to choose the medium if your pup’s legs are on the shorter end.

     The best part is, there is no need to inflate this doggie pool. It’s industrial strength PVC material folds down for easy storage and then pops back up again when you bring it out. All you have to do is fill it with fresh water. On the side, there is a valve-contraption that releases the water onto the ground when it’s time to pack it up. As for durability, the strong PVC material is much less likely to be punctured from dog nails. As compared to a blow-up kiddie pool, it won’t collapse because no inflation is necessary. Unfortunately, if you have a destructo-pup, we don’t think a dog pool will be a good match.

Pool Float

Pool floats for your dog are more than just a cute accessory for awesome instagram pics. For dogs who have a bit of trouble with swimming, they can become an essential tool. Your dog will be given the opportunity to hang out in the pool with you, but on a floating device to keep their head above water. This way you can lounge around without constantly holding onto your baby boy or girl. Just pull the float along and, presto!, your dog is right where they want to be: at your side.

SwimWays Spring Float

     Most people won’t let their pups use their pool floats because of their paws. Their nails can easily rip the floats open; additionally, dogs like to chew on everything. Fortunately, there’s a pool float meant just for them (though we can’t promise they won’t want to use yours instead). The SwimWays Spring Float has paw and claw friendly fabric that’s puncture resistant and made with durable materials. It is easy to inflate, deflate, and folds down flat for storage. Additionally, it only costs around $30, making it well worth the money in our opinion.

     This pool float has an inner spring sewn into the outside of the float that makes it both comfortable, and durable for your pooch. This float is ideal for dogs of almost any size. The small supports dogs up to 65lbs. It’s 50″ x 29″ x 4.5″. The larger size will support dogs over 65lbs, with dimensions of 65″ x 43″ x 9″.

Pool Ramp

     Your home may already have an above ground or in-ground pool installed. If that’s the case, does your dog have any easy way in and out of it? Constantly picking your dog up to get them in and out of the pool is a complete hassle and often dangerous for both you and the pup. Plus, your dog needs an easy exit-route to access on their own just in case. This will further help to make them feel comfortable in the water.

     If you need to install something special, there are options. But, be careful because many products depend on the weight of your dog and can be useless due to their durability. That’s why we reviewed a great deal of them to bring you A Dog Pool Ramp Worth Your Money. There you will find the top options that are also affordable.

Summer Holidays

     Possibly the most famous Summertime holiday in the USA is the 4th of July. With picnics, cookouts, watermelon, sparklers and more, it’s perfectly timed to give us all a much needed break. Most people take hold of this special day and run wild with it, enjoying the nice weather to its fullest. With a dog, you’ll never want them feeling left out. 

Firework Safety with Dogs

      The 4th of July is undoubtedly famous for fireworks. People tend to set off smaller fireworks in the yard during the day; then as the sun dips down, the real-deal firework displays begin. There are two scenarios: you are traveling to see them or you can hear them loud and clear from the inside of your own home. Either way, with a dog in tow, those beautiful sparks come with a loud, unfamiliar boom. Truly, the sound of fireworks is one of the most common sources for fear or anxiety in dogs. When sharing the firework experience with your furbaby, there are two main components to keep in mind.

     First, keep your dog a safe distance away from the sparks. If you are lighting-off smaller fireworks or sparklers at your home, have your pup kept safely in the house or out on a leash. This way they can not scamper into the “danger zone.” If you are traveling to a location for the real-deal fireworks display put on by a local fire department, the professionals will have already laid out a safety zone for you. Here, your dog is safe to be by your side with the rest of the crowd. But, always keep them on a leash because the loud noises, bright lights, and surrounding people may cause some unexpected chaos.

     Second, know how to calm your pup down if and when they become frightened. This may require a bit of planning ahead-of-time. In fact, even if you are staying home when firework displays take off, the loud boom is still present. You can make concrete efforts to console Fido when they get scared, but some pups have high anxiety and need a little extra help from some products. Here, your best bet is the Thundershirt we’ve picked out below or The Best Calming Treats for Dogs.

Thunderworks Thundershirt

      If your dog struggles with anxiety during fireworks, we highly recommend the Thundershirt. It’s an all-natural approach to anxiety; rather than giving your pup vitamins and supplements, simply strap on the Thundershirt. It works in a similar fashion to swaddling a baby; in fact, it works for 80% of dogs in easing anxiety.

     You can use this Thundershirt when your dog is traveling, during holidays, and to calm them down during fireworks. The Thundershirt is comfortable and proven to be effective for most dogs. It’s available in 7 sizes, making it perfect for any dog. To see all size measurements and even more in-depth analysis of the Tundershirt, head on over to The Thundershirt Anxiety Jacket for Dogs.

Cute Dog Outfits for July

     If you love dressing up your furbaby for different occasions to show off their Holiday spirit, then this one goes out to you! Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat, and other social media platforms are constantly filled with images of dogs in adorable outfits and now’s the time for your pup to shine. On the other hand, you may just be looking forward to showing them off in a public setting. And why not right? It’s Summer and it’s time to have some fun.

Blueberry Pet National Pride Collar and Bow Tie

     Purchasing a festive collar for your pup is a perfect way to celebrate, without bothering your pup. Oftentimes outfits and other accessories agitate your pup more than anything. This collar is festive, and your dog will simply think they’re wearing a normal collar.

     Blueberry Pet makes this festive collar. They’re a very reputable brand in the dog accessory business. Their collars and leashes are made with quality materials, and they’re comfortable for your pups.

     This is simply a regular collar that comes with a bow tie attachment. You can purchase it in one of six fun patterns, all perfect for your July 4th activities! This collar is available in two sizes; and of course, if the collar isn’t a perfect fit, you can always attach the bowtie to a different collar. The small collar has neck measurements of 12-16″, and is 5/8″ wide. The medium collar has neck measurements of 14.5″ – 20″, and is 3/4″ wide. We highly recommend this collar for dogs that hate costumes, but still need to look festive this year!

Midlee Uncle Sam

     I’m sure we’ve all seen the videos of dogs running around in costumes such as this Uncle Sam costume. There’s almost nothing cuter to watch! The Midlee Uncle Sam costume will absolutely make your dog the life of the party this Independence Day. With a full ‘suit’ with fake arms, and a top hat. All eyes will be on Fido.

     Because this outfit doesn’t need to strap all the way around your dog’s body, it seems to be fairly comfortable. When looking for the right size, you simply need to pay attention to your dog’s neckline to make sure their head will fit through the head hole. Fortunately, the costume is available in six sizes, so it won’t be too hard to find the right size for them.

Sizing:

  • Small: 10″ neckline
  • Medium: 14″ neckline
  • Large: 16″ neckline
  • XL: 18″ neckline
  • 2XL: 22″ neckline
  • 3XL: 22″ neckline

Vacationing with a Dog

Top Vacation Spots for a Dog

     Taking a vacation and bringing your dog along is an excellent way to get them out to see the world. Instead of taking the same route down the street to a dog park, this is the opportune time to expose them to a more adventurous spirit. Those memories will not only last a lifetime with you, but your dog will remember every sight and smell as well. 

     However, not all vacation spots are prime territory to bring a dog. Before booking that flight or locking down that hotel reservation, you will need to do some research. Do they allow dogs? Is it safe for your dog? What kind of things do you need to bring for your dog? There are just about a million questions to flesh out, but don’t let that decide to leave Fido at home.

      The first step is checking out this in-depth article on The Best Vacation Spots to Bring Fido. There, you will get a good sense on the pros and cons of vacationing with your dog. Plus, there is an extensive list of top spots to stay.

What You Need

     Depending on where you are heading for this year’s Summer vacation, there will be different terrain and scenarios that dictate what your dog will need. However, all vacations have a couple of things that are most common. From the sunny weather to playing in water, these are the essential items you will need for a vacation-bound pup.

Sun Protection

     On vacation during the Summer, you are more-than-likely heading to a nice, sunny location for some warmth. Whether this be a spacious lake, a busy beach, or mountain hide-a-way, the sun is going to be enemy #1 for your dog. Not only can dogs get sunburn, but the sun intensifies their risk of heat exhaustion. As you lather on the sunscreen, how is your pup going to stay protected from the sun’s rays?

     Sharing your own sunscreen with the dog is not an option. The ingredients in human sunscreen contain a range of chemicals that can throw off their skin’s pH level and some bad reactions are just around the corner. Ultimately, you need something that is specifically made for canines. This could be a dog sunscreen or maybe something to provide some shade down on the beach.

Dog SunScreen

     To find out the best dog sunscreen for an affordable price, check out our previous section on Sunscreen.

My Deal Pup Up Pet House

     Having a tent for Fido will be a lifesaver in the summertime. You can bring them to the beach, lake, or you can set them up in the backyard. They provide shade, protection from light weather, and give you a place to keep all of your dog’s supplies when you’re traveling. Additionally, you can use it indoors! Throw a dog bed inside, and Fido will have a comfortable place of their own, without being confined to a crate.

     This tent is inexpensive, easy to set up, and lightweight; the perfect travel accessory for your pooch. In the top right corner of the picture, you’ll see the carrying case you can use to transport this tent. It measures 24″W x 24″ L x 26″ H; suitable for smaller and medium sized breeds. The tent has a simple pop-up design, and easily folds flat for travel.

     Additionally, you can use the tent as a barrier between the front and back seats. You can attach it to the front seats, keeping Fido in the back seats during travels. If you do decide to use it as a barrier, you’ll always have the tent with you when you take Fido to the park, beach, or lake. In our opinion, this is a no-brainer for dogs that go on vacation with their owners. And at around $20, it won’t put much of a dent in your wallet!

Cade Sun Visor

     This puppy sun visor is both fashionable, and functional! As you can probably assume, this visor will make your pup the star of any beach, lake, or backyard barbecue. It’s available in six fun patterns, making it ideal for both male and female pups. Of course, it will also keep your pup cool! Both humans and animals can get overheated much quicker if they’re not wearing any sort of head protection. This visor will keep the sun out of their eyes, and help to prevent overheating.

      You may be thinking, ‘my dog will never keep that on’; fortunately, this visor fits very well, and is hard for your pooch to remove. This visor has an adjustable strap, and two ear holes that will give it a comfortable fit; it’s made of 100% cotton, so you can expect it to fit much like a traditional baseball cap.

     The visor is 3.8″ in diameter, 12.3″ for head girth, the brim is 1.7″, and the ear perimeter is 5.5″. We highly recommend this visor for puppies and smaller breeds that won’t mind the head accessory. It’s under $10, durable, functional, and cute!  

A Way to Keep Hydrated

      After gathering some dog-specific gear to keep your pup from being burned out in the sun, there is another aspect to account for: hydration. In fact, keeping your dog hydrated with clean drinking water will be your only way to protect them from heat exhaustion and dangerous dehydration during a vacation. Whether you’re heading out on the beach or mapping out the next hiking trail, you need a way for your pup to drink water on-the-go. Your furbaby will follow you to the ends of this earth, even if they are unbearably thirsty. Pay attention to their behavior; if they start to pant with their tongue out, it’s time to give them some water.

      Dog water bottles are uniquely designed to carry clean drinking water for your dog and then expertly dispense it in a way Fido can lap it up. These are the easiest and least expensive option you have for keeping a dog hydrated no matter where you go. Yes, you can also take a simple water bottle and portable bowl, but we recommend investing in something that combines the two. That way you’re not adding to the gear.

HighWave AutoDogMug

     The HighWave AutoDogMug is one of the most popular canine water bottles on the market. Why? It’s easy to use, durable, and it doesn’t leak. When you’re heading to the beach with Fido, you no doubt pack a water bottle for yourself. The heat will quickly dehydrate not only you, but your pooch as well. It’s important to keep them hydrated throughout the day, even if they are in the shade.

     This water bottle is very simple to use. Simply squeeze the bottle, and the ‘bowl’ on top will fill with water. You can keep squeezing the bottle until Fido is finished drinking. When you release your grip, the water will slowly drain back into the bottle.

     This water bottle holds 20 ounces of water (very similar in size to a traditional water bottle). We love this option for vacation goers because it’s durable but also food safe and BPA-free. Plus, the product is locally made in the USA. Ultimately, It’s a extremely easy to travel with, which is what we are looking for it? It comes with a velcro strap that you can attach to your bags, and it also fits perfectly in cup holders. In our opinion this water bottle is a must-have for dogs that go on adventures with you during any season!

Swimming Gear

     Allowing your dog to swim on vacation is a wonderful way to introduce them to low-impact exercise. Plus, most dogs will absolutely go nuts over it. Even if they are hesitant at first, you can see the excitement in their eyes. Instead of holding them back, why not let them enjoy the moment? You can always come prepared with a life jacket, dog goggles, and a handy dog towel to dry them off. Add a fun, floating fetch toy into the mix and you’re all set!

     Some dog breeds, like the Portuguese Water Dog and Chesapeake Bay Retriever, have been bred over the centuries to be experts in the water. Unfortunately, not all dogs can just go leaping into the ocean, lake, or pool without a bit of help. If that’s the case, check out our section above on Summer cautions. Or you can head over to The Best Life Jackets for Dogs to get out pro tips and recommendations for keeping Fido safe during swimtime.

Dog Goggles by Enjoying

     What’s a beach day without a stylish pair of sunglasses, or should we say, goggles. Your dog’s eyes can be sensitive to sunlight just like yours. The sand on the beach is highly reflective, which can not only damage your eyes, but Fido’s as well! That’s why it’s a great idea to purchase a pair of goggles for them.This pair is UV protective, waterproof, and prevents sand from getting in their eyes. Additionally, if your dog likes to stick their head out of your window, this protects their little eyes from the wind!

     This pair is not only stylish, but comfortable, adjustable, and effective as well. The goggles have an adjustable strap that goes around the back of your pup’s head to give them a comfortable fit.

     When you order from Amazon, you can choose between two colors; black, or pink. We highly recommend them for smaller breeds. They’re around $10, and a must-have for your next summer outing. If you want a pair of goggles for your pup, but these don’t fit the bill, check out our other picks at Must-Have Dog Goggles.

Soggy Doggy Doormat Super Shammy

     After you dog goes for a swim (or an unexpected dip in the pool), you’re going to want a towel on hand. Even though you can use a human towel to get the job done, having a dog towel particularly for your pup is going to be the most convenient. In fact, towels designed for dogs are going to work much better to dry off all that luscious fur. Especially if your traveling on vacation, having a dog towel set aside will help your car stay dry and free of that wet dog smell.

     To find a dog towel best for your pup’s needs, head on over to the Best Dog Towel. However, we can tell you right now that the best choice you’ll come across is the Soggy Doggy Doormat’s Super Shammy. It has plenty of soft, microfiber grooves to truly soak up water; giving your pup a good fluffing as you go. The best part about this towel includes the two hand pockets designed right into the material. This allows you, as the owner, to stick in your hands to give a thorough cleaning without getting all soaked yourself!

Dog Grooming in the Summer

Do dogs shed in the Summer?

     Technically speaking, dogs shed in the Spring and Fall. In the Spring, they shed off their winter coats and replace it with a lighter layer for the Summer. However, the amount of time it takes to shed is left up to the weather and your dog’s biological response to it. Therefore, shedding may still occur during the initial Summer months and it can be a lot to deal with. From your couch cushions to every piece of clothing you own, it will be covered in dog hair (unless of course you have a hairless dog). Depending on just how much fur you have to battle, investing in a quality dog grooming tool that is specifically designed for tackling the shedding process is the most efficient way to go. A couple minutes every other day should be sufficient enough to brush down your dog and have great results.

The Furminator

     Many dogs require additional grooming during the summer months. The weather’s changing, and their fur coats are getting too hot for them. Most breeds will start to shed tremendously, leaving you with piles of fur all over the place. That’s why deshedding tools are so important! They keep your floors clean, and your dog comfortable. The Furminator is one of the most popular deshedding tools out there. Simply brush your pup with it once a week to reduce the amount of fur they leave around the house.

     The furminator will remove 90% of your dog’s excess use without any pain or discomfort. But this tool isn’t just one size fits all; use it on any breed. There are five sizes available on Amazon, perfect for any breed. Additionally, you can choose a tool for either long or short hair breeds. Head on over to Amazon to check out your options. If this doesn’t tickle your fancy, you can compare more grooming products at Must-Have Dog Grooming Tools. There, you can see the difference between different types of dog brushes and what their function really means.

Summer Dog Treats

Ice Pop Treats

     Do you tend to toss an ice cube or two to your dog on hot days? Dogs not only love to bat those suckers around on the floor, but it provides a much-needed cooling effect during the Summertime. Although, there’s something more you can do to truly spoil your furbaby (without much added effort). These frozen dog treat products add a new spin to the traditional ice cube.

GYBest Ice Cube Tray and Silicone Mold

     There’s nothing more refreshing than an ice cold popsicle on a hot Summer day. While it may not be the best idea to share your popsicles with Fido, you can now make them their very own! This great silicon mold will allow you to freeze just about anything for Fido. The mold is FDA approved, food safe, and BPA free. You or your dog can use these molds for popsicles, baking molds, pretty much anything. Additionally, they’re dishwasher safe!

      You can fill these silicon molds with chicken broth, plain water, or water flavoring for your pup. If your dog likes ice cubes, they’ll love the frozen treats you make them with these molds. Additionally, you can use them to make homemade dog biscuits!

Grilled Dog Treats

      If you’d rather not feed your dog part of your cookout, you can buy grilled dog treats just for them! They’re much healthier for your pooch than most human cookout foods, as they’re made just for your dog’s sensitive stomach! The Nudges Grillers are the perfect treat for your pooch during summer get-togethers. They’re made in the USA, made with natural ingredients, and dogs love the taste.

Nudges Grillers

     These yummy treats have beef as the first ingredient, so you know you’re getting a wholesome treat. Additionally, they’re free from artificial flavors, preservatives, and animal by-products. They’re also free of corn, wheat, and soy, making them a perfect snack for dogs with allergies.

We highly recommend Nudges Grillers for dogs with just about any dietary need. They’re only 27 calories per piece, and they’re a delicious, grilled treat made just for Fido. However, these treats are not the only grilled dog treats on the market. Make sure to check out Grilled Dog Treats Made in the USA to see all the best options.

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