The weather’s warming up (finally!) and it’s time to enjoy the outdoors and all that nature has to offer. With sunnier days ahead comes extra caution when it comes to our furry loved ones; especially since most of a dog’s body is comprised of water. Below are five tips to keep your pets healthy and hydrated this summer so they can continue to live long and pawspurr.

  1. Jazz Up That Water Bowl

It can be difficult to get your beloved pets to drink water, even when it’s scorching outside. As adorable as they are, they don’t understand the need to stay hydrated like we do! So, try adding an interesting twist to their water bowls to get them more excited about drinking. Here are some pet-friendly things you can add to their water:

  • Ice cubes
  • Chopped up carrots
  • Chopped up red peppers
  • Pieces of celery

Also, make sure their water bowls are accessible — don’t just assume your pets need one bowl. Put a few around the house and outside if they spend time in the yard. Remember, your pets can be as picky as humans — they may prefer drinking out of ceramic bowls, or glass or plastic. Put out a few options and see what they gravitate towards the most.

  1. Make Pupsicles

People aren’t the only ones who enjoy a frozen treat on a hot summer day. While many toss an ice cube or two to their pawsome friends, it can be nice to provide them with a tastier version to keep them happy and hydrated. You can simply blend ingredients together and pop them in any regular ice cube tray so that you always have them ready and available for those warm days. Try these combinations:

  • 1 ripe banana (or swap with pineapple, strawberries, watermelon, etc)
  • 4 cups orange juice
  • 1/2 cup plain yogurt

You can also fill up an ice cube tray with salt-free chicken broth for your pups. A frozen treat they’ll happily gobble down, you can feel good knowing they’re cooling down with something they enjoy. If the heat’s got you feeling particularly lazy, chop up some watermelon and stick it in the freezer — an instant frozen treat that will pawsitively delight your pet!

  1. Never Keep Pets in Hot Cars

This may seem like common sense at this point, but year after year pets senselessly lose their lives after being left unattended in cars. It’s so important to remember that pets don’t regulate their heat as humans do; they can’t sweat to cool themselves. Even if you’re going to be “just a minute” consider taking your pet with you or leave them at home in the safety of cool air conditioning. Don’t risk their lives for your convenience.

  1. Don’t Drastically Shave Their Coats

It can be a common misconception for pet owners to shave their furry friends to keep them cooler in the summer months. Makes sense, right? When humans get hot, we shed layers to keep cool — however, pet experts agree this is not the case with your cats and dogs. Dogs have developed their coats for a reason. It’s a barrier between the dog’s skin and the sun. The less heat and sun that reach the skin, the less hot the dog will actually be. Shaving can contribute to dehydration.

In addition, our pets need protection from sunburn and insect bites; their coats can act as a safeguard against this.

  1. Don’t Overwork Your Pups

Unlike humans, pups don’t understand when to stop — no matter how hot it may be outside. Without this “off” switch, it’s up to you to determine when they’ve had enough. Watch out for signs like excessive panting and sluggishness. While you may like to enjoy the peak heat of a beautiful summer day, keep your pets shaded and cool. Just because you’d like to jog around the block a few times, doesn’t mean your pet can keep up — even if they begrudgingly press on without showing signs of illness. Pets are incredibly intelligent, but at the end of the day they are people pleasers!

Pet owners should seek immediate veterinary attention if they notice any changes to their pet’s skin, in particular if they notice ulcers or sores. Use the above tips as oppawtunities to avoid any unfortunate outcomes this summer — your pets will thank you!