Summer Safety Tips for your Dog


Summer is in full swing with parades, outdoor festivals, concerts, fireworks and markets.

If you’re planning to take Fido along, Worthington Organized Off-leash Friends (WOOF) has gathered these tips to keep your pet safe and comfortable:

  • The foot traffic at public events can be congested during peak times.  Not every dog is comfortable in crowds and some dogs may become stressed.  Be considerate of your dog’s comfort level by visiting events and activities during off-peak times.
  • Your dog may enjoy meeting other dogs but recognize that not all dogs are happy to meet unfamiliar dogs.  Give every dog space, including yours and always ask permission before a “meet and greet”.
  • Take a friend or partner so that one person can always be minding the dog while the other stops at stalls, make purchases or visits the restroom. That way your dog can wait off to the side and isn't forced to stay in tight spots or be put in tense situations. 
  • Working on socialization skills? Consider starting with smaller groups of people first before introducing your pup to the larger crowds at outdoor summer events and activities. Once your dog graduates to larger groups, make acclimating your dog to crowded environments your main goal for attending. Keep to the periphery and keep visit short, 15-20 minutes for first 2-3 times.
  • Leave the flexi-leash/retractable leash at home.  A 4’ to 6’ leash is a safer bet and also provides more control in crowds by helping keep your dog close by your side while in high traffic areas.
  • Remember your dog is closer to the ground than you. Asphalt and concrete surfaces can heat up quickly during warm days, causing heat stroke or burned paw pads. Consider attending events earlier in the day before surfaces become too hot or later when surfaces have cooled off.  Check the ground for hotness with your ownhand or bare feet. If you can’t keep your hand (or foot) on the surface for more than three seconds, it’s probably too hot for your dog.
  • Always, always bring cool, fresh water for your pet. And, don’t forget the poo bags.
  • Know the signs of overheating in pets - excessive panting and drooling, weakness, vomiting and diarrhea.
  • Don’t leave your pet in the car on a hot day, even for a quick errand. Studies show that cracking the windows has little effect on a car’s internal temperature.  Consider this:  even on seemingly mild days, an enclosed car can be deadly. In a Stanford University study, when it was 72 degrees outside, a car’s internal temperature climbed to 116 degrees within one hour. In a study by San Francisco State University, when it was 80 degrees outside, the temperature inside a car rose to 99 degrees in 10 minutes and 109 degrees in 20 minutes. 
  • Grooming (brushing and bathing) your dog helps keep them comfortable in the heat.  A natural coat offers protection from sunburn and acts as cooling insulation. Shaving your dog’s coat will take away protection. However, if you do shave your dog for summer, it may need sunscreen. Be sure to use one formulated for pets.


Fireworks and Fido

Fireworks can turn Fourth of July into a miserable night for dogs. Unlike humans, dogs do not like fireworks. A dog’s hearing is 10 times more sensitive than a human’s, so firework displays can cause many dogs to experience great fear, anxiety and confusion.  It is not uncommon to hear of dogs that “spooked” and escaped from their homes or yards because of the loud noise created by fireworks. Every July, animal shelters across the country see increases in lost pets that have run away during Independence Day festivities. 

To help keep your four-legged friends safe and comfortable during fireworks:

  • Keep your dog inside when fireworks are being set off. You should never tie your dog out, leave it outside or alone in a car for any reason during fireworks displays. 
  • Make sure your dog is wearing identification, generally in the form of a license tag, collar I.D. hang tag or micro-chip. If at all possible, avoid leaving your pet alone.
  • Minimize the noise and flash of lights by shutting all doors, windows and blinds and drawing curtains.  Consider turning on a radio or TV as a distraction.
  • Prepare a safe spot for your dog to hide in.  Use blankets and familiar toys to make the area comfortable.  If you dog finds a place to hide, do not try to coax it out.  Your dog has found a place it feels safe.  Keep an eye on it, but try not to disturb it.
  • Avoid excessive cuddling and comforting.  Instead, remain calm and relaxed and try to re-direct your dog’s attention by playing a game or with a favorite toy. 

Worthington Organized Off-leash Friends (WOOF) is a 501c3 non-profit dedicated to supporting the new dog park at Godown Park as well as educational programs that encourage responsible pet ownership. Visit us online at and follow us on Facebook.