Keep Your Dogs Safe This Summer

Tips for keeping your canine pal safe at the Shore and beyond.

A dog hangs on the sand at Fisherman's Cove in Manasquan.
A dog hangs on the sand at Fisherman's Cove in Manasquan.
Photo by Joe Polillio

Dogs love to play in the sun and some love to swim, but all require attention in the heat—just like a child. Since dogs don’t have sweat glands like humans, but cool off primarily by panting, they are more prone to heatstroke. Warning signs include sluggish behavior, heavy panting and a bright red tongue. Here are tips to keep your canine safe:

1. Never leave your dog unattended in a car or in direct sunlight outside.

2. Set up shade or even a kiddie pool for your pet. A wet bandanna tied around its neck also helps. Always bring portable water bowls.

3. Apply pet-safe sunscreen to the bridge of the nose, tips of the ears, and all over white dogs and those with short hair.

4. Get your dog a bright life jacket with a snug fit and a top handle. You should be able to lift the dog out of the water by the handle without the pet choking or slipping out.

5. Never let your dog swim unattended, and make sure there’s an easy way to get out of the water. Non-slip pool ramps and ladders can save dogs from drowning.

6. Exercise your dog in the early morning or evening when it’s cooler.

7. Never force your dog to walk on hot sand or pavement. Try paw booties if your dog’s pads are extra sensitive.

8. Put your dog securely indoors before fireworks are set to go off.

9. Keep your dog away from potential toxins such as coolant dripping from cars, insecticides, pesticides, citronella oil, fertilizers and alcoholic beverages.

10. If your dog suffers heatstroke, fractures, consumes one of the poisons listed above, or faces any other emergency, go to the closest veterinarian.

If you are at the Shore after hours, try the Jersey Shore Emergency Veterinary Service in Lakewood. They are open overnight weekdays from 8 pm to 8 am; and weekends from 3 pm Saturday to 8 am Monday. Contact 732-363-3200.

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