Pet Summer Safety Guide

Fireworks & Thunderstorms

– Exposure to lit fireworks can potentially result in severe burns or trauma, and even unused fireworks can contain hazardous materials. Many pets are also fearful of loud noises and can become lost, scared or disoriented, so it’s best to keep your pets safe from the noise in a quiet, sheltered and escape-proof area of your home.

– Always make sure they have visible and up to date ID on their collar in case they go missing.

– For many dogs and even cats, thunderstorms and fireworks can be a huge source of anxiety. Please discuss with your veterinarian ways to relieve this anxiety. 

Sun & Heat

– See our other blogs for more detailed information.

Parties & BBQ’s

– If your pet’s are joining the party, make sure guests don’t feed them human food (especially grapes, onions, avocado, and chocolate) and ensure alcoholic drinks are kept out of your pet’s reach. Keep charcoal, matches and lighter fluid away from your pets.

– Although they can be harmful, many dogs love corn cobs. Ensure they are not able to steal from tables or get into garbage cans/bags.

Toxic Chemicals

– Rodenticides, lawn and garden insecticides, citronella products, tiki torch products and glow sticks are all toxic to pets if ingested, so keep them out of reach.  Keep your pet away from areas where chemicals have been sprayed. Call our hospital at 204-269-8162 or after hours, call the Winnipeg Animal Emergency Clinic at 204-452-9427 if you suspect your animal has ingested a poisonous substance.


– Dogs cool themselves by panting and sweating through their paws. Fans don’t cool off pets as effectively as they do people.

-Turn on the AC in your home, especially if you’ll be out of the house for several hours. If it’s too warm for you, it’s too warm for your pet.

Sun Protection

– Although fur helps provide protection, areas around your pet’s mouth, ears and belly remain susceptible to sunburn.  Human sunscreens contain ingredients that are dangerous to pets. Use sunscreens specifically made for animals to give your pet an extra shield from the sun. Apply a pet-safe sunscreen every 3-4 hours to the bridge of the nose, ear tips and any area where pigmentation is low.  A light t-shirt can help too. If your pet does get burned, apply a thin layer of pure aloe vera twice daily to soothe the irritated area. Check the brand with your veterinarian first, to ensure its pet safe). Pets need a break out of the sun every 30 minutes and always provide access to water.  Add ice cubes if you can. Always supervise your pets around ice cubes or other frozen treats.


– Adjust intensity and duration of exercise in accordance with the temperature.  Limit exercise to early morning or evening hours.

Dangerous Plants

– Many plants can be dangerous to dogs. Foxtails are a type of grass and have spiky seeds that can get lodged in a dog’s ear, nose, eye or skin and even become lodged in their throat. They often require removal by a veterinarian.  Check your pet thoroughly after being outdoors.

 Water Safety

– Never leave pets unsupervised around pools.

– Not all dogs are good swimmers. Never assume your dog will enjoy the water and be able to stay afloat. Try a sample run in shallow water first. Don’t force your dog into the water. It could scare them and make them go running away from you.

– Dogs don’t understand the concept of resting or treading water, so they will get tired fast.  Don’t let your dog swim too far away from you.

– If you’re on a boat, your dog should also wear a life jacket. It will make it easier to spot and grab them if he/she jumps or falls in. Dogs are much heavier in the water when you’re trying to pull them back into your boat.

-Rinse your dog off after swimming to remove chlorine or salt from his fur, and try to keep your dog from drinking pool water, which contains chlorine and other chemicals.

Written by Diane Skillen