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Spending summer outdoors with your favorite four-legged family member is part of what makes this season so special. For dog owners, it’s important to remember that heading out into summer’s heat without taking precautions, being mindful of your pet’s health needs and being overeager to celebrate can lead to danger for your pup.

Prevention is the key to pet safety at all times of year. Follow these simple summer safety tips for your pet, so you two can make the most of another beautiful season in Virginia Beach, VA.

Pets can get dehydrated quickly. It’s important to keep fresh, cool water available to them at all times on hot, humid days. When outdoors, keep to the shade. On extremely hot days, avoid spending any unnecessary time outdoors.

If your pet usually likes to accompany you on errands or on visits to friend’s houses, be mindful to never leave them alone in the car – not even for one or two minutes. It can lead to fatal heat stroke within minutes, and in many states, it is illegal.

Never leave your pet unsupervised around a pool. Not all dogs know how to swim, so be sure to introduce your dog to water slowly and always with a life vest on. If your dog does enter a pool at some point, make sure to rinse all chlorine off his fur after he exits the pool.

Have your dog groomed accordingly, but never shave them and avoid having their hair cut too short. Dog’s coats help to protect them from sunburn and excessive heat. Even in the heat, they need their coats to keep cool.

When out on walks, try to avoid hot sidewalks or asphalt as these can burn your pup’s paw pads. Stick to shady, grassy areas as often as possible, and when you must walk on hot asphalt, do so quickly and don’t linger.

Keep your pups safely at home and in their comfort zone during July 4th celebrations. Fireworks can be loud and terrifying to many animals, and can cause your pet to become disoriented or lost if they aren’t safely kept at home where it is quiet and escape-proof.