pug in doghouse
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Give Your Pal Shelter From the Weather

Winter calls for extra insulation in dog houses and other outdoor animal shelters. To keep your pet cozy, make a raised bed using a fluffy cushion or blanket. You can also make a bed of dry hay or cedar shavings, but change them often if you do. Check and refresh water bowls often to make sure they don’t freeze over.

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white bulldog
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Stave Off Sunburn

The dog days of summer pose danger for our faithful friends. Short-haired, close-shaven, and light-colored pets are prone to sunburns. The tender skin of snouts, noses, ears, and tails is also exposed to the UV rays. Rub on doggie sunblock (at least SPF 15 in strength) about 15 minutes before a long stretch in the sun. Make sure your pet has a shady spot to hang out, too.

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dog drinking water
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Keep Hot Dogs Cool

Heat can be hazardous to your pet’s health. Be sure she has plenty of water. Choose outside bowls that won’t tip, and fill them often. On walks, bring a water bowl and spray bottle for cooling drinks and showers along the way. Never leave pets alone in a vehicle during summer. Temperatures can climb above 100 degrees in a matter of moments.

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dog panting
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Know the Symptoms of Heatstroke

Humans cool down when we sweat. Dogs chill when they pant. But if your pet can’t stop panting, has labored breathing, his gums turn white or blue, or he becomes lethargic, get to a vet right away. These are warning signs of heatstroke, which can cause serious illness or even death.

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chocolate mulch
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Skip the Chocolate Mulch

One kind of bark has a mean bite. Mulch made from the hulls of cocoa beans smells like chocolate, which attracts animals. Like real chocolate, it’s bad for your pooch. Soak the mulch, or wait for a heavy rain to wash away the tempting aroma. You could also pick less-flavorful products like pine straw or cypress nuggets instead.

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dogs jumping off dock
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Patrol the Pool and Pond

Wading pools can offer relief from the heat, but deeper waters are danger zones. Whether beachside or poolside, train your dog to climb to dry land. Never leave her alone in the water. Make sure pool covers are tightly in place to prevent drowning. Salt and chlorine aren’t good for your dog’s fur, skin, eyes, nose, or stomach, so don’t let her drink the water, either. After a swim, give her a good rinse. Talk to your vet about products that clean ears and dry them out after a swim.

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raccoons in trash
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Ditch the Dumpster Diving

Stinky compost and trash piles smell great to your dog. But they’re also filled with rotting food, bacteria, parasites, and germs that are bad for him. Items in the recycling bin have sharp edges that can damage snouts, paws, tongues, and tummies. Choose waste containers with tight-fitting tops. Place tin and broken glass inside cans, and then crush or crimp the rims shut. Keep dogs in your gaze as they graze.

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dogs in mud puddle
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Steer Clear of Puddles

Train your pooch to be a puddle jumper, or at least steer him around them. Standing water is a perfect place for bacteria and parasites to breed. If your pet swallows them when he takes a drink, he could get seriously ill. Puddles can also contain antifreeze -- which is deadly if animals drink it -- or runoff full of icky chemicals.

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beagle in forest
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Control the Critters

Whether it’s a collar, a pill, or a medication you put on his skin, it's important to keep your pet flea- and tick-free. These bugs feast on his blood -- and yours. Plus they carry nasty ailments like Lyme disease and Rocky Mountain spotted fever. Talk to your vet about the best choice. If you live in a place where ticks thrive, check your pet after every trip outside. If he has fleas, chances are they’re in your house and yard, too. The vet can tell you how to treat them.

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mole in garden
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Get the Pests, Not Your Pets

Pest control requires pet patrol. Some products, including many that tackle fleas and ticks, won’t hurt your pal. But most poisons used to kill rats, moles, gophers, slugs, and snails are strong enough to harm your dog. Buy pet-proof bait traps, and stand guard as needed to keep your dog from digging up buried poisons. Store them out of your pet’s reach.

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dog in grass
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Pick Pet-Safe Products

The things that make your yard and garden healthy, like fertilizers and weed killers, can make your four-legged friend sick. Look for non-toxic options and use them as directed. Make sure spray-on chemicals have dried before you let your dog roam the yard. Keep bags and bottles tightly sealed where he can’t get to them.

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bumblebee in flight
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Fight Flying Foes

You’ll hear a yelp or yowl if your dog is attacked by a bee, yellow jacket, wasp, or hornet. Caulk cracks around windows, doors, and attics, and watch out for burrows where these insects build nests. Long-range aerosol sprays can get rid of unwanted pests. If your dog gets stung, scrape out the stinger. Apply a paste of baking soda and water, then ice the area. An OTC antihistamine, in the right dose for her weight, may also be needed (call your vet for the right amount). But go straight to the vet if she has trouble breathing or lots of swelling.

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whippet in winter sweater
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Provide a Winter Wardrobe

Furry friends need more than their own coats to keep warm in winter. Ideally, pets should stay indoors, going outside only for exercise and potty breaks. For outings, dress them in sweaters or coats when temps fall below freezing. Add booties to his wardrobe to protect paws from snow and ice, which can cause frostbite, or salt, which can cause burns. Dampen a towel with warm water to wipe down your dog's paws when he comes in from the cold.

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Sources | Medically Reviewed on 08/27/2017 Reviewed by Amy Flowers, DVM on August 27, 2017

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REFERENCES:

PAWS Chicago: "Dog Resource Guide."
AVMA: "Cold Weather Pet Safety."
American Kennel Club: "Summer Safety Tips."
Pet Poison Helpline: "Winter Hazards for Your Pet."
AVMA: “Safe Use of Flea and Tick Preventive Products.”
The Humane Society of the United States: “Getting a Tick Off of Your Dog.”
The Humane Society of the United States: "Common Household Dangers for Pets."
AVMA: “External Parasites.”
ASPCA: "ASPCA Guide to Pet-Safe Gardening."
Oregon Veterinary Medical Association: "Outdoor Hazards for Pets."
Alabama Cooperative Extension System: "Beware of the Wasp: Tips for Keeping Bees at Bay."

Reviewed by Amy Flowers, DVM on August 27, 2017

This tool does not provide medical advice. See additional information.

THIS TOOL DOES NOT PROVIDE VETERINARY ADVICE. It is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional veterinary advice, diagnosis or treatment and should not be relied on to make decisions about your pet’s health. Never ignore professional veterinary advice in seeking treatment because of something you have read on the WebMD Site. If you think your pet may have a veterinary emergency, immediately call your veterinarian.

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