Tips for a Safe Summer!

After our long cold winter, I’m sure many of us have been taking advantage of the great weather. Longer walks with our pets, visiting the beach, playing outdoors, but it is important to remember there are risks to our pets during the summer months.

Health Check

  • Be sure to visit your veterinarian to ensure your pet is up to date on all necessary vaccinations.
  • Pets should also get heartworm tested annually to ensure they are free of the deadly heartworm parasite.

Parasite Control

  • During our warmer months in Ontario, we need to protect our pets against multiple parasites.
  • Prevention is generally a once a month or in some cases, once every three months.

Avoid the Heat

  • Pets can overheat very quickly and can be susceptible to heat stroke.
    • Our pets cannot sweat, therefore, they are at risk of quickly overheating.
  • Try walking in the mornings and evenings, avoiding the hottest part of the day.
  • Ensure your pet always has plenty of fresh water and shelter from the heat.
  • Pets with short muzzles are more susceptible to overheating because they cannot pant efficiently.
  • Trimming your pet’s coat may help keep them cool.
    • But avoid shaving! Their coat helps protect them from the sun’s UV rays.
  • Be careful walking on asphalt; it can burn your pet’s paws!
  • Do NOT leave your pet in the car, even with the windows down, your pet is at risk of quickly overheating.

Party Season

  • The warm weather is a perfect opportunity for backyard barbeques and parties. Be careful with food and drink that your pet may ingest.
    • Remember bones can be dangerous if swallowed. They can cause intestinal obstruction.
    • Diet change (even one snack!) can cause a severe gastrointestinal upset.
    • Avoid grapes, raisins, chocolate, onions, and products with sweeteners (containing Xylitol).

Water Safety

  • Do not leave your pet unsupervised by the pool.
  • Not all dogs are strong swimmers and may be at risk of drowning.
  • Prevent your pet from drinking pool water.
  • Slowly introduce your pet to water, and make sure they wear flotation devices while on boats.


  • Leave your pet at home if going to watch fireworks.
  • Do not light fireworks near your pet.

Written by Dr. Ashley Woo, DVM