What we always want to remember when heading out with our dog on adventures is safety. A fun time can be ruined quickly, if we are not prepared. I’ll be transparent. I tend to be the least prepared of all my friends when going on adventures. So I’m sharing these tips as a reminder to myself, too.
1. Heat – Our Summers are HOT! There is no getting around that. It’s already hitting the 90’s. It’s important we keep our dogs cool when traveling, competing, training, and out on adventures. This means making sure we keep an eye on their hydration, run the A/C when they are in the vehicle, monitor vehicle temperatures, check pavement heat level, and provide shade options.
2. Other Animals – This time of year you are more likely to encounter off-leash dogs, snakes, and ticks. It’s important you are prepared for what you might come upon while out having fun. Do you carry Sprayshield or pepper spray in case you are assaulted by an off-leash dog? Do you have a game plan for how to handle seeing a snake? Is your dog on preventative or have protection against ticks?
While we don’t want to be hyper vigilant on our outings we do want to be prepared. By being prepared we can feel safe, secure, and protected at all times.
3. Lost n’ Found – When getting out with our dogs or having people over it’s easier for them to accidently get lost. They might get out an open door, slip their leash, or hop out an open car door. We highly recommend training your dog to not bolt out doors and to reliably come when called. That being said, we also recommend your dog have a microchip and/or collar and tags with your up-to-date information. This way if your dog dogs get loose they can quickly be returned to you.
It can also be helpful to have your dog’s information attached to their crash safe dog crate. That way if you are in an accident someone can care for your dog or know to ask if you had a dog with you.
4. Water Safety – A cool dip in the pool, lake, or ocean can be wonderful for dogs and people. If your dog has not been around water you may want to be extra cautious about their interaction to ensure they don’t get scared, drink too much, or have trouble finding their way out. Our local animal clinics are already seeing dogs who nearly drowned in Lake Lanier. Yikes!
We offer pool classes and private lessons to help you see where your dog is at when it comes to water safety. There are nice dog life jackets you can find online, at Petco and Petsmart, and TJMAXX/Marshalls. You’ll want to teach them how to comfortably wear the jacket on dry land before heading to water activities.
5. Vehicle Safety – Any time we get in the vehicle with our dog we want to ensure they are safe and secure. I mention this more often after my roll-over car accident last October. I was on my way to barn hunt class! I’m incredibly thankful Norby was in an RTK Kennel. Now, many of you have invested in these crates for your dogs. Great work! In addition to keeping them safe during transit, we also want to keep them safe while waiting their turn at Scent Work and Barn Hunt classes as well as at competitions. There are many products you can start to collect to create your own set-up.
Aluminet: You can cover all or part of your vehicle to reflect the sun with an aluminet. This can keep your vehicle cooler. We do recommend you attach them with bungie cords, clips, strong magnets, or shut in side doors. It’s also helpful if you can easily set it up yourself since they can be like a huge bed sheet to put on your vehicle.
Ryobi Fans: These are be powered by battery or plugged in. You can attach to a crate or prop it up in front of a crate. This way your dog can stay cool without the air conditioning at certain temps. I’ve also seen people carry it with them while they wait for their turn at Nose Work and Barn Hunt trials. It’s quiet and light weight. They are having a special right now through Home Depot.
Water Bowls: There are a variety of portable dog water bottles and bowls. I prefer the collapsible bowl since I can easily slide it into my bait bag, cooler, or clip it to my belt loop. It’s a good idea to have fresh water for you and your dog when out in the elements. Offer water more often to your dog than cooler times of the year since they will be panting more with higher temps and humidity. LINK
Slip Leash: It’s good to have a spare leash on you in case yours breaks, gets lost, or chewed. Most of our trainers carry a slip leash to easily get a dog from point A to B without the risk of them slipping out. I don’t recommend these for adventures, but good for a backup or quick leash-up option. There are different thicknesses based on the size of your dog. They are also handy to rescue a stray dog.
Temperature Monitor: I’ve always wanted one, but felt overwhelmed knowing which kind was best for my needs. There are ones that you need WiFi and others that use cell towers. Both can be great depending on your needs, budget, and distance you’ll be from your vehicle while your dog is in it. We often have our dogs with us for classes and travel. This means they may need to hang in the car when we are not in it with them. It can heat up really fast!
I’m going to be testing out the Waggle (Nimble) gadget next month. It will alert me via text if the temperature goes outside of what I identify as the safe range. This particular unit requires a subscription service. Depending on your needs you can subscribe for a quarter, six months, or a year at a time. I’ll keep you posted as I test it out. If you want to check it out CLICK HERE.
What do YOU like to have for Summer adventures?
If you are on adventures far from your regular veterinarian, I also highly recommend looking up the closest ER vet to where you will be staying. This way you can easily navigate or call them should you need them.
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