A dog with their humans going for a hike

With our plethora of beautiful lakes and Instagram-worthy natural areas, Minnesotans are no strangers to outdoor summer fun. For many, enjoying the great outdoors with your pet is a no-brainer. After all, Spot doesn’t want to spend all of his time inside when the call of the wild beckons.

From backyard barbecues to boating on the lake, we have all of the pet safety tips and summer care recommendations to ensure that everyone – two and four-legged alike – has the most amazing summer ever.

Lakes, Rivers, and Backyard Pools

Taking caution around water is imperative, even for dogs who have a penchant for swimming. Each year, many pets succumb to accidental drownings. Take care of your pet around water by practicing the following tips:

  • Outfit your pet with a life jacket that is well fitted for his or her size.
  • Avoid rapids – even fast moving shallow water can sweep a pet out of reach in a matter of seconds.
  • Supervise your pet around water and stay close to him or her when in a pool or lake.
  • Make sure your pet likes to swim and is healthy and fit enough to do so (some pets, such as brachycephalic breeds, are not suited for swimming).
  • Install a pool ramp for your pet, and consider fencing off the pool for added safety.
  • Prevent your pet from drinking pool water (because of the chemicals) or drinking from natural pools of water, which can contain parasites that can make your pal very ill.

Backyard Fun

Including your chow hound or curious kitty in any backyard gathering or celebration comes with a few caveats. It’s essential to remember that parties are often distracting, so someone will need to look after your pet while you’re grilling or playing the host. Since escape can happen quickly (all it takes is one gate or door left open), make sure your pet is microchipped and has current tags.

If grilling, remember that grills and coals are HOT, including drippings from the grill. Toxic foods (for fur babies) are commonly found at barbecues, and tend to include xylitol (a common sugar substitute), garlic, onions, alcohol, grapes, raisins, and chocolate. Also be sure to cover trash bins and compost piles securely.

Hitting the Trails

Hiking in Memorial Park or other beautiful nearby areas can be a great way to get in shape and enjoy all that nature has to offer. When with your pet, keep the following in mind:

  • Make certain that all of your pet’s vaccines and parasite controlmedications are current (call us if in doubt).
  • Avoid wildlife and keep your dog close and on a leash if you spot any animals.
  • Be courteous and always pick up after your pet when on the trail.
  • Pet formulated sunscreen (never use your own) is important to protect easy-to-burn noses, ears, and tummies.
  • Once again – keep that cool water flowing for your pal by bringing along plenty of water.

Safely Enjoy the Great Outdoors With Your Pet

Any outdoor summer fun also requires responsible pet parents to be aware of heat-related illnesses. Learn the signs of heatstroke and how to respond to any kind of emergency, be it an animal attack or injury.

For more information and tips on outdoor pet safety, please call your