Keeping Your Dog Safe Outdoors

Your dogs are not just pets, but part of your family, so it is very important to protect them from dangers outside the house. Hot weather, insecticides and fertilizers are just some of the things that can be a problem for your dogs.

With the high temperatures of the summer months, dogs can get severely ill or even die. Follow these simple tips to keep your dog safe.

1. Limit the amount of time spent outside - If possible, it is a good idea to keep your dogs indoors during the hottest times of the day. You should only take your dog outside so that they can potty. Provide a shaded place for dogs that have to stay outside. Make sure you take your dog for walks in the early morning or late evening hours when it is cooler. During the hot part of the day, heat isn't the only danger - hot asphalt or concrete can burn your dog's paws.

2. Make sure your dog has plenty of water - Make sure the water bowl has a clean supply of water all day. You can buy cheap collapsible water bowls at most pet stores. It is an easy way to make sure that fresh water is available to your dog when exercising or going for walks.

3. Wet your dog's coat with water before starting your outside activities - a wet coat will help keep your dog cooler for a longer period of time.

4. Never leave your dog in the car - In nice weather you may be tempted to take your dog with you in the car while you go to the store. However, during warm weather, the inside of your car can reach 120 degrees in a matter of minutes. Remember if it's too hot for you, it's too hot for your dog!

In many areas, the winter months are very cold. You should take extra precautions to make sure your dog stay safe and warm.

1. Don't leave dogs outdoors when the temperature drops below freezing. Short-haired, very young, or old dogs should not be left outdoors without supervision. Dogs are safer indoors, except when taken out for walks.

2. No matter what the temperature is, wind chill can threaten a dog's life. Dogs are sensitive to severe cold and are at risk for frostbite and hypothermia when left outdoors during extreme cold snaps. Exposed skin on noses, ears and paw pads can quickly freeze and suffer permanent damage.

3. Dogs are social animals who crave human companionship. The best way to keep them safe, warm and happy is to keep them indoors with you and your family.

Besides the heat and cold, there are other things outside that can be harmful to your dogs.

1. Plant foods, fertilizers and insecticides can be fatal if your dog ingests them. Also, more than 700 plants can produce toxic substances to cause harmful effects in dogs. Make sure you keep your animals off areas where fertilizers or insecticides have been applied until it is safe for them.

2. Don't let your dogs ride in the bed of a pick-up truck. It is very dangerous, and in some states illegal. Dogs can be hit by flying debris or thrown out of the truck if the driver suddenly hits his brakes, swerves or is hit by another vehicle. Let them ride in the cab or in a secured crate in the bed.

Finally, make sure your dog is always wearing a collar and identification tag. If you are separated from your pet, an ID tag may be their ticket home. However, it is a good idea to always keep your dog on a leash.

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