Animal Experts Share 14 Must-Know Tips For a Safe, Pet-Friendly Summer

Vets, trainers, and pet behaviorists the tricks they use to keep pets safe during the summer — without sacrificing fun

<p>Getty Images</p> Stock photo of a dog swimming with a lifejacket

Getty Images

Stock photo of a dog swimming with a lifejacket

Animal experts are preparing for summer and want to make sure you and your pet are ready for the season, too.

PEOPLE spoke with 14 pet professionals, including veterinarians, trainers, and behaviorists, to get their must-know tips for summer. These included insights on pet pool safety and road trips with your furry friend.

The experts were clear that they wanted pet parents to have fun with their animals this summer while staying safe, so there are also tips on handling heat exhaustion, hydration, and seasonal pests.

Read on to get all of the experts' advice.

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Act like a lifeguard

If swimming is on your activity list, pick one responsible person to be the official pet watcher— and switch that role every 15 minutes. This way, water safety won’t slip through the cracks. Get a well-fitted life jacket for pets who love to be in the water! —Dr. Kate Maher a veterinarian with the Humane Society Veterinary Medical Association

Keep a stash of chilled snacks

Use frozen baby carrots or celery soaked in chicken broth for dental treats that will cool your dog off during the hot months. —Drs. Erin & Ben Schroeder, stars of Heartland Docs, DVM

Keep pets out of parked cars

Do not leave your dog in the car on a hot or warm day. It's unreal how deathly hot a closed car can get in the sun and the shade, even with the window cracked. On a modestly warm day, around 75 degrees, it takes minutes for a closed car to reach 140 degrees, and even in the shade, that car will reach 100 degrees and over quickly. That can easily kill your dog in a very short period. -Dr. Michelle Oakley, star of Dr. Oakley Yukon Vet

Watch for ticks

Prioritize tick preventatives before hitting the trails or camping with your pet. And remember to give your dog a once-over for ticks at the end of each day. — Dr. Jan Pol, star of The Incredible Dr. Pol

<p>Getty Images</p> A stock photo of a cat being brushed

Getty Images

A stock photo of a cat being brushed

Help cats shed heat

Brushing your cat often in the summer helps remove excess fur, which reduces the heat trapped in a feline’s coat. —Julie Castle, CEO of Best Friends Animal Society

Go the extra mile

Use the long sunny days to increase the number and length of walks. This is a great way for you and your dog to get more exercise and bonding time together. Early morning or late evening are cooler, more comfortable times. Pack plenty of water — for your pet and yourself. —Dr. Rena Carlson, president of the American Veterinary Medical Association

Create a cooldown

Fill a children’s pool with ice cubes and water so your dog can have fun in the heat too! You can also let him play on a splash pad made for children. Add in stimulus toys to make it even more entertaining. —Dr. Terrence Ferguson, star of Critter Fixers: Country Vets

Avoid travel anxiety

Before taking your pet on a road trip, associate positive behaviors with the car by grooming them and giving them affection in the car ahead of vacation. —Cesar Millan, dog behaviorist and cofounder of the Halo Collar

Look out for reptiles

Beware of rattlesnakes in certain parts of the country. I live in San Diego, and they are very much a thing! I’ve treated a number of rattlesnake bite cases, and they can be heartbreaking. Look into fencing, snake deterrents, and the rattlesnake vaccine for your dog. -Dr. Kwane Stewart, the chief veterinary officer of Kismet

<p>IstockPhoto/Getty Images</p> A stock photo of a dog hiking

IstockPhoto/Getty Images

A stock photo of a dog hiking

Master boarding etiquette

Discuss any diet, medication, or behavioral concerns with the staff prior to drop-off. Some weight loss is normal if pets are boarded for more than five days, so don’t be concerned if they look thinner when you pick them up. Just give them extra love and attention (and maybe an extra treat or two!) when you return. —Dr. Vernard Hodges, star of Critter Fixers: Country Vets

Blend a healthy treat

Whip up a dog-safe smoothie by blending ice, cold water, a little plain yogurt, strawberries, blueberries, and bananas. Serve your pup a small portion in a bowl. —VICTORIA SCHADE, Animal Planet’s lead Puppy Bowl trainer and author of Dog Friendly

Beware of hot asphalt

It’s important to protect your pet’s paw pads by avoiding long midday walks. Asphalt and concrete temperatures can rise to dangerously high levels and leave burns on their extremely sensitive paws. Dog shoes and paw moisturizers offer extra protection. —Dr. Lori Bierbrier, senior medical director at ASPCA Community Medicine

Treat heat exhaustion

If you think your dog is overheating, submerge a towel in cold (not iced) water, wrap her in the wet towel, and head straight to your vet. —Dr. Treyton Diggs, the Westminster Kennel Club’s 2024 Veterinarian of the Year

Make hydration a priority

It’s important to always have fresh, cold water available. Unfortunately many cats don’t like drinking water, so make sure you’re refreshing their water dishes daily, or try a cat water fountain. —Dr. Callie Harris, a Georgia-based small-animal veterinarian

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