How to Bring Your Dog to the Beach

Dog at the beach

Here’s the first, most important step to planning a beach day for your dog: find out if the beach is pet-friendly, since many prohibit dogs. If dogs are allowed, review the beach’s guidelines — dogs may be required to stay in restricted areas, or be on a leash for their visit — and follow some simple safety steps to ensure that your dog’s day of sand, waves, and sunshine is safe as well as fun.

Beware of Heatstroke

A long day in the sun poses some risks for your dog, with heatstroke and dehydration as the biggest potential problems. Watch for an inordinate amount of panting, trouble breathing, and disorientation. If the water is particularly chilly, or if your visit occurs during the wintertime, hypothermia can be a concern, particularly with smaller breeds. Keep an eye out for shivering, disorientation, slow breathing, and stiff muscles.

Related Story: How to Identify Signs of Heatstroke in Your Dog

Water Safety: Does Your Dog Need a Life Vest?

Is your dog a swimmer? Many dogs love to swim, taking to the waves confidently. If that’s not the case for your dog, be cautious about allowing your dog in the water. Some breeds are skittish by the ocean; other breeds are simply not capable of swimming. If you’re at all in doubt about how your dog will respond, put a dog life vest on your pet.

Related Story: 4 Safety Tips for Dressing Your Pet

Keep an Eye On Your Dog

While you’re at the beach, make sure you’re always watching your dog. Many beaches require pets to stay on a leash; even if the one you’re visiting does not, make sure to keep dogs on a leash if they don’t respond well to voice commands. Your dog should have a good time, but not impede the fun of other beachgoers — curtail rampages across the beach that might lead to sand being flung on sunbathers.

Shop: Leashes for Your Dog

Bring Dog-Friendly Beach Supplies

Load up your beach bag with supplies for your dog. Some of the most important things to bring to the beach for your dog’s fun and safety are:

  • A water bowl and water: Provide your dog plenty of fresh water to ensure hydration. You’ll also want to avoid having your dog slurp down salt water, which can lead to sickness.
  • An umbrella: Make sure there’s some source of shade for when your dog needs a break from the sunshine.
  • A blanket or towel: The heat of the sand can be painful on your dog’s paws. A blanket or towel will allow a break from the exposure, and a comfy place for a nap.
  • Sunscreen: Only use dog-friendly sunscreen on your pet; sunscreen intended for people may have chemicals, scents, or other problematic ingredients which dogs could easily ingest while licking their fur.
  • Toys!: Don’t forget, you’re here for fun. Safety is important, but also make sure to bring a Frisbee, floating toy, and fun toys for your dog to fetch.

In general, use your common sense; like you, your dog should avoid too much time in the sun, especially during the hottest part of the day, hydrate frequently, reapply sunscreen after being in the water, and take breaks in the shade.

Shop: Balls and Other Fetching Toys

 Be Respectful of the Beach

Don’t leave any of your dog’s waste behind — it could be an unpleasant surprise for other beach-goers. Prevent dogs from entering areas that are marked as off limits, which may often be environmentally protected areas.

When it’s time to take off for the day, use an outdoor shower, or a bucket or bottle of fresh water, to rinse off the sand, sunscreen, and saltwater from your dog. Use a towel (or the sunshine!) to dry off your dog. If you’re traveling by car, put down a blanket in the backseat to keep the car dry and tidy.

What are your tips for a trip to the beach with your dog? Try PetPlus, a new benefit program for pet owners that provides member-only access to medications at wholesale prices, plus discounts on food, supplies, vet visits, boarding and more, for all your doggy beach supply needs.  


Tips for Camping With a Dog


Summer is the perfect time to dust off your camping gear and explore the great outdoors. And if you have a furry friend, you might be thinking about taking them along. Camping can be a great experience for many dogs, with lots of new sights, sounds, smells, and adventures. However, bringing a dog on a camping trip requires some preparation and understanding of potential hazards. Read on to learn how to safely enjoy Mother Nature with your best friend.

Before You Go Camping With Your Dog

If you’re planning to take your dog on a camping trip, there are certain things you will need to do before you can pitch a tent.

Pre-Camping Check-Up

Take your dog to the veterinarian for a check-up to ensure that they are both physically and behaviorally prepared for a camping trip. Camping can be physically taxing, especially if you plan on hiking or being in hot weather, and certain dogs (like senior dogs or those with ailments) may not be up for it.

In addition, you should consider your dog’s behavior. Will they be barking excessively while you and other campers are trying to sleep? Do they become aggressive or fearful in new situations? If you aren’t sure if your dog will have a good time while camping, it may be better to leave them behind.

RELATED STORY: The Annual Vet Visit Cost: What to Expect

Vaccinations and Parasite Protection

Make sure that your dog is up to date on all of their vaccinations. Tell your veterinarian where you and your dog will be going so that they can recommend any additional vaccines that may be useful. For example, if you’ll be camping in the desert, your vet may recommend the rattlesnake vaccine.

Your dog should also be protected from fleas and ticks, as these pests can be found in abundance in certain camp areas and may carry life-threatening diseases.

ID Tag and Microchip

Your dog should wear a collar with an ID tag at all times, and if your dog has a microchip, check to make sure that their contact info is up to date before you leave for your trip. Also bring a recent photo of your dog that you can show to other campers or a park ranger if your pal wanders off.

Prepare a Pet First-Aid Kit

Having a pet first-aid kit on hand can help you treat superficial wounds while you’re off the grid. You may also want to consider taking a pet first-aid class such as the one offered by the American Red Cross.

Pack Your Pet’s Supplies

What will your dog need while camping? Everything they need at home, plus some. This includes a leash, food, fresh water (never let your dog drink from lakes, rivers, or ponds), bowls, poop bags, a bed or blanket, a brush or comb (so you can check for ticks), any medications they might need, and if you’ll be in the sun, pet sunscreen and a place for your dog to find shade (such as a large umbrella or a covered crate).

RELATED STORY: Made in the USA Pet Supplies Showcase

Locate the Nearest Veterinarian

Before leaving civilization, locate the nearest vet to your campground and write down their address and telephone number. In case of an emergency, you’ll know where to go right away.

While Camping With Your Dog

Your dog passed their physical with flying colors, they have their vaccinations and flea and tick protection, their ID tag and microchip are up to date, and their supplies are packed. You’re ready to start your adventure! So how can you keep your dog safe once you reach the campsite?

Never Leave Your Dog Alone, and Use a Leash When Necessary

Leaving your dog alone in nature puts them at risk for injury or getting lost. Keep an eye on your dog at all times, and if you’re near other campers or in an area with less-than-friendly wildlife, keep them on a leash.

Check For Ticks

Ticks abound in forest areas and tall grass. Check your dog at least once a day. If you find a tick, remove it with tweezers or a tick removal device. Never attempt to “drown” the tick with dish soap or burn it with a match; these homespun methods can actually increase the likelihood of infection.

RELATED STORY: Types of Ticks in the US

Offer Exercise Breaks

Camping often involves hiking or long walks. Give your dog plenty of breaks to avoid straining their muscles and joints, and if the weather is hot, take steps to prevent heat stroke. Find shady areas to rest and keep fresh water on you at all times. If your dog is showing signs of exhaustion, let them sit out activities for the remainder of the day.

Try Dog Boots

Consider outfitting your dog with a pair of dog boots. Dog boots protect your dog’s paws from cuts, scrapes, and foreign objects between the toes. They also keep feet warmer in cold weather and cool when the weather heats up. Most dogs aren’t too fond of dog boots the first time they wear them, so practice with your pal before you go camping.

Do you take your dog camping? Leave us a comment and let us know how you keep your pup safe. Another way to protect your pet? Sign up for PetPlus, a benefit program for pet owners that provides member-only access to medications at wholesale prices, plus discounts on food, supplies, vet visits, boarding, and more.


How to Identify Heat Stroke in Dogs

Heat stroke is a serious emergency that occurs when a dog’s body temperature rises to a dangerous level. When the weather heats up in the summer months, your four-legged friend is especially at risk. So just what is heat stroke, and how can you protect your pal?

What is Heat Stroke?

A dog’s fur serves them well in the winter months by providing a cozy layer of insulation. However when warm weather rolls around, this fuzzy feature soaks up the heat. Additionally, dogs don’t sweat (except minimally through their paws), so the primary way that they cool down is through panting. When the temperature outside gets close to the temperature of your dog’s body, panting usually isn’t enough, and heat stroke can set in.

What Causes Heat Stroke?

Any situation that raises your dog’s body temperature can set them up for heat stroke. Common situations include:

RELATED STORY:The 7 Breeds Most Likely to Become Fat Dogs

What are the Symptoms of Heat Stroke?

Heat stroke generally starts with panting and difficulty breathing. The tongue will appear bright red and the saliva will be thick. Oftentimes, a dog will vomit. As the condition progresses, the dog will become unbalanced and have bloody diarrhea. Without treatment, the lips and mucous membranes will turn gray and then the dog will collapse, suffer seizures, go into a coma, and die. RELATED STORY: The Dog Symptom Checker

What to Do About Heat Stroke

If you suspect that your dog is suffering from heat stroke, take steps to begin cooling them down right away:

  • Move your dog into the shade, away from the heat, and into an air-conditioned area if possible.
  • Take your dog’s temperature with a rectal thermometer. If it is above 103°F, you will need to start cooling them down with water.
  • Spray your dog with cool (not cold) water from a hose or place them in a cool bathtub.
  • Offer your dog cool water to drink.
  • Apply an ice pack to their groin area or the top of their head.
  • Do not attempt to give your dog aspirin to lower their temperature; this could result in other problems.
  • Check their temperature every few minutes and continue cooling until it drops to 103°F or below. Do not continue cooling for too long or the dog could suffer from hypothermia.

Once your dog is stable, take them to the veterinarian for an examination and further treatment if necessary.

Want to learn how to keep your dog cool as a cucumber even on the hottest days? Check out our article 5 Ways to Keep Your Dog Cool in Hot Weather

Has your dog ever suffered from heat stroke? Leave a comment and tell us about it, and sign up for PetPlus, a benefit program for pet owners that provides member-only access to medications at wholesale prices, plus discounts on food, supplies, vet visits, boarding, and more.  


3 Ways to Take Care of Your Pets While You’re on Vacation

This cat wishes you weren't going on vacation

This cat wishes you weren't going on vacation

It’s hot, sticky, and humid outside, so if you’re dreaming of an ocean, lake, or poolside vacation right now, I sympathize. But as you book travel plans, pack your suitcases, and gather up your beach reads, don’t forget your pets. When owners travel, it can confusing for pets who don’t understand where owners are going and when they’ll return. If bringing your pet along on vacation isn’t feasible — or just isn’t right for you, your pet, or your vacation — here are some options for how to keep pets comfortable during your vacation.

RELATED STORY: What’s the Cost to Board Your Cat?

Hire a Pet Sitter

A pet sitter can stop by on a daily basis to give your cat fresh food and water, clean the litter box, and spend some time socializing and playing with the cat. For dogs, a bit more is required from a pet sitter: several walks a day, as well as food and interaction, will be necessary.

Some pet sitters will even stay in your home while you’re away, which will insure that your pet gets the necessary play, stimulation, and social time. Pet sitters can be hired professionally or be a neighborhood acquaintance; whoever it is, make sure to hire a pet sitter that you feel comfortable entrusting with your pet and the keys to your home.

RELATED STORY: Questions to Ask a Professional Pet Sitter

Board Your Cat or Dog

For some pets, being boarded is a reasonable option; for others, it may feel like a punishment. If your pet hates being boarded, and finds the small space and group environment detestable, this option is not right for you. But if your pet tolerates being boarded, give this a try.

Do make sure to check the facility first, and make sure the accommodations are clean and pleasant. If you’re looking for a place to board your pet, try asking your vet first — many veterinarian’s offices board pets, and all vets should be able to recommend a reputable kennel.

RELATED STORY: What’s the Cost to Kennel a Dog?

Leave Your Cat or Dog With a Friend

Before using this option, think about how demanding your pets are. Will this be too much of a burden on your friend? If you have a puppy or a notoriously challenging cat or dog, this might not be the best option. And, if your friend has a cat or dog, this option might not work, since your vacation-time may result in a week of your friend supervising territorial disputes.

Wherever you decide to leave your pet, make sure the people responsible have your contact information, the vet’s contact information, and a general sense of your pet’s disposition and habits. A note with feeding instructions, schedule information, and play guidelines will be immensely helpful as well.

PetPlus offers a budget-friendly way board your pets while you’re out of town. Find out if PetPlus is right for you, and get more information on the members-only benefits, which include discounts on food and vet visits, as well as boarding discounts.


ALERT: Don’t Leave You Dogs in Your Car This Summer


Every summer we hear countless stories of dogs passing away due to heat. The majority of these cases come from people leaving their dogs in cars. As a pet parent, it is up to you to make sure that your pet is safe. By leaving dogs in cars for any period of time, you are shirking that responsibility.

RELATED STORY: 5 Steps to a Safe Drive with Your Dog



In the span of 20 minutes, a car left outside in 70-degree weather will  reach an internal temperature of 99. Extrapolate that, on a 90 degree day (which we are only going to see more of) the temperature inside your car can hit 120 degrees in just over 20 minutes! That is more than hot enough to cause a heat stroke — especially if the subject in question is wearing a fur coat and cannot sweat.

RELATED STORY: 5 Remedies for Car Sickness in Dogs and Cats

And the internal temp only grows over time. At midday on a scorcher, the inside of a car can easily get up to 130 degrees. Also, despite what you may have heard, cracking the windows doesn’t help.



Sure, it is nice to take them out for a drive, but at what cost? Every time you leave your pet in the car unattended, you run the risk of heat stroke. Also, in many places, you can receive a fine — or worse.

RELATED STORY: Buckle Up Pets – It’s The Law

Many states are now enacting laws regarding leaving a pet inside a car. Many of these laws give an officer the right to use “any means necessary” to free the pet languishing inside. So, if you leave your pet in the car and come back to find your left rear window smashed in, odds are it was done with the full blessing of the law.



Simply put, leave your pet at home. You could also leave them tied to a post outside, but many people do not approve of that approach, as it leaves open the possibility that someone could mess with, or steal, your pet. Also, by leaving them unattended outside, there is a chance that they could nip at someone, which could result in a legal issue.

RELATED STORY: 5 Tips for Dog Safety Around The Home

So this summer, please play it safe. When you are going out to run errands or anything of the sort, leave your pet at home. They will thank you for it.

Sign up for PetPlus, a benefit program for pet owners that provides member-only access to medications at wholesale prices, plus discounts on food, supplies, vet visits, boarding, and more.

Salisbury Post – Editorial: Don’t Make Pets Suffer In Hot Cars
Department of Geosciences – Heatstroke Deaths of Children in Vehicles


Dog Life Jackets and Boat Safety Tips

Dog Life Jackets

Summer is the perfect time to get your dog involved in some outdoor activities. There’s hiking, swimming, trips to the dog beach, and even boat rides. If you plan to take your dog on board, be prepared for the voyage with these safety tips.

1. Check Laws and Regulations Before You Go

Before heading out on the open water, check your state’s laws and regulations to ensure that your dog is allowed on the boat and that you’re following all the rules. In addition, if your boat is in a marina, call the marina ahead of time to ensure that dogs are allowed on the property.

2. Acclimate Your Dog to the Boat

Being on a moving boat for the first time can be scary for a dog. It’s fast, it’s loud, and there’s lots of strange movement. Before taking the boat out to sea, acclimate your dog by visiting the boat when it’s on dry land or parked at the dock. Let your dog explore and sniff, and offer treats and praise. The goal is to help your dog form a positive association with the vessel.

3. Bring Safety Supplies

A first-aid kit, pee pads, a life jacket, sunscreen, and fresh water are all important things to bring along for the ride. Even if your dog is an excellent swimmer, they should still wear a life jacket (or have one nearby) in case conditions change and the water gets choppy, which could affect their ability to swim. Fresh water is important because sea water can be dangerous for dogs to drink, and dog-friendly sunscreen will keep your pal from getting burnt when the sun’s beating down. Also be sure to set up a cool and shady area for your dog to rest; perhaps in the cabin or under a large umbrella.

RELATED STORY: Be Prepared for Emergency Pet Care: Steps to Take Now

4. Develop a Safety Plan

What will you do if your dog goes overboard? Have a plan before you go so that everyone is on the same page. Maybe you’ll plan to turn off the engine, and one person will be assigned to jump into the water after the dog.

5. Build Up to Longer Outings

Even if you acclimate your dog to the boat, chances are they’ll still be a little freaked out the first time on board. Keep their first trip short and positive with plenty of treats and praise, and look out for signs of seasickness. If your dog suffers from seasickness, try these steps for dealing with car sickness. If the seasickness persists, ask your veterinarian if anti-nausea medication would be appropriate for future outings.

RELATED STORY: The Most Active Dog Breeds for Your Lifestyle

6. Keep Your Eyes on Your Dog

Just like you would with a small child, it’s important to keep your eyes on your dog when they’re on a boat. A wave or wake could cause your dog to lose their footing and fall off, and too much time in the sun could cause your dog to become dehydrated (and even develop heatstroke). Know where your dog is at all times and make sure they are secure and taking breaks in the shade.

Do you take your dog out on a boat? How do they like it? Leave a comment and let us know, and sign up for PetPlus, a benefit program for pet owners that provides member-only access to medications at wholesale prices, plus discounts on food, supplies, vet visits, boarding, and more.


6 Dog Safety Tips for the Fourth of July

Dog with American Flag

While we just talked about this topic with Sam’s post on Tuesday, the topic of dogs and the 4th of July is a hot one, so we’re revisiting some points and introducing a couple new ones.

Loud noises. Big crowds. Flashing lights in the sky. Leftovers from barbeques. The Fourth of July is a great day for families and friends all across America, but can be challenging for your dog. Find out six simple ways you can ensure a healthy, happy, anxiety-free day for your pup.


1. Food Safety During Barbeques

Whether or not you allow your dog to eat human food is likely a decision you’ve made a long time ago. But food at a barbeque can be particularly dangerous for dogs: alcohol is always a no-no, but so are the onions you’re having on your burger, the avocado in your guacamole, and the bones that might be in grilled chicken. Be sure to let your friends know not to share food with your pet.

RELATED STORY: The Most Poisonous Foods for Dogs


2. Prepare for Loud Noises

If you know — or suspect — that your dog doesn’t like loud noises, plan ahead. Make sure your pet has a safe spot in the house to hang out, cover up the noises if possible, and provide your pet with a Thundershirt or other swaddle-like outfit.

RELATED STORY: 5 Tips for Dealing with Dogs Scared of Loud Noises


3. Don’t Bring Your Dog to the Fireworks

The crowds of people, loud crash of the fireworks exploding, and unexpected flashes of light are hard on your dog. We recommend that you leave dogs safely at home. It’s easy for a dog to panic, run away, get lost, or generally freak out during fireworks. Since it’s not a pleasant activity for pets, leaving them at home is both the kindest and the safest option.


4. Definitely Don’t Leave Your Dog in the Car

If for some reason, leaving your dog at home is not an option, it would be preferable to bring your dog with you rather than leaving your dog alone in the car. During the heat of the summertime, leaving your dog in the car — even with the windows cracked open — is unsafe.

RELATED STORY: 5 Must-Read Safety Tips for Pets in Hot Weather


5. Make Home Cozy for Your Pet

If your dog will be home alone while you’re out celebrating Independence Day, or even if you’ll be around, make your house into a comfortable environment for your pet. For crate-trained dogs, the crate can be the most comforting place to ride out the wild night. Close the curtains to help block out the lights from the fireworks, and think about leaving the television on, or playing music for an audio distraction. Make sure that all doors and windows are closed — even a normally placid pup can have an urge to escape when confronted a the fear-inducing situation.


6. Be Careful With Sunscreen and Bug Spray

What’s good for you isn’t necessarily OK for your pet. Don’t give your pet a spritz of bug spray, and avoid using sunscreen for people on their fur. As well, citronella and lighter fluid can also be dangers for dogs, so make sure to keep those items far away from your pup.

RELATED STORY: Top Mosquito-Borne Illnesses


PetPlus isa new benefit program for pet owners that provides member-only access to medications at wholesale prices, plus discounts on food, supplies, vet visits, boarding and more. Is it right for you and your dog?


Can Dogs Get Sunburn?


Many people assume that a dog’s fur protects them from the sun’s UV rays, but the truth is that, just like people, dogs can suffer red, painful skin if they get too much sun. A sunburn isn’t only painful, though; it can also lead to skin cancer. So what can you do to protect your pup?

What Dogs Are at Risk For Sunburn?

While some dogs are better protected from the sun than others, all dogs are susceptible to sunburn. Dogs that spend lots of time outdoors working, playing, or hiking are particularly at risk, as are dogs with little hair (like the hairless variety of the Chinese Crested), dogs with short hair (like the Chihuahua and some Terriers), and dogs with white fur and pink or white skin (like the Bichon Frise).

RELATED STORY: The Most Active Dog Breeds For Your Lifestyle

Ways to Protect Your Dog From Sunburn

So how can you keep your dog safe from the sun? Check out these tips:

  • Provide Shade

Shade and fresh water are important to keep your dog comfortable and prevent heatstroke when temperatures rise. Shade also protects your dog from the sun’s harmful rays. If your dog spends a lot of time outside, provide them with a kennel, doghouse, or large umbrella where they can take a break from the sun and heat.

  • Walk When the Sun Is Low

When it’s hot and bright out, your dog will be at higher risk for heatstroke and sunburn. To avoid this, take your dog out for exercise in the early morning or evening when the sun is low in the sky.

  • Use Sunscreen

Just like humans, dogs can benefit from the use of sunscreen. However, the key is to select a sunscreen that is effective but also non-toxic, as many dogs will be inclined to lick their fur after application. When selecting a sunscreen, use the following guidelines:

  • Avoid sunscreens that contain zinc oxide, as ingestion of zinc can lead to zinc poisoning, anemia, and even death.
  • Avoid sunscreens that contain PABA, which can be fatal if consumed.
  • Use pet-safe sunscreens when possible, such as Epi-Pet Sun Protector and Natural Dog Snout Soother.
  • Many natural sunscreens made for children can be safe for dogs. Ask your veterinarian before using any sunscreen on your dog that is intended for people.

The most sensitive areas on a dog are the ears, nose, muzzle, belly, and any other areas with thin hair or exposed skin, so focus on those spots when applying sunscreen.

RELATED STORY: Be Prepared For Emergency Pet Care: Steps to Take Now

  • Dog Clothes

Dog clothes may offer extra protection when the sun is beaming down. However, be sure to choose lightweight garments that won’t make your dog hotter than they already are. You may also want to look into dog clothes that are specifically designed to block UV rays.

Now that your dog is protected, go have some fun in the sun!

Has your dog ever had a sunburn? How do you protect your dog? Leave a comment and let us know, and sign up for PetPlus, a benefit program for pet owners that provides member-only access to medications at wholesale prices, plus discounts on food, supplies, vet visits, boarding, and more.


5 Tips for Comforting Dogs Scared of Loud Noises

Dogs Scared of Loud Noises

For dogs scared of loud noises, summer can be a frightening season. Thunderstorms abound by day. The ‘pop-pop-pop’ of fireworks can startle us at night.

Why are dogs scared of loud noises?


All these loud and unpredictable noises may be tough for your dog to take. If the sounds of the season make your pet skittish, they are not alone — many dogs get fearful, anxious, and unsettled during fireworks, storms, and in the moments leading up to a storm’s arrival.

There are simple strategies — some done in advance, and some enacted when the storm strikes — that can help quell your dog’s fears and allow them to endure the noises with relative ease.

1. Swaddle Your Dog

For dogs scared of loud noises, some dogs may benefit from feeling snuggled in a blanket or from wearing a swaddle-like garment. One popular choice is the Thundershirt, which provides a calming pressure on your dog’s body. Or try a calming collar, which is also aimed at soothing pets in tense moments. Whatever garment you choose, putting it on as the storm approaches and your dog’s anxiety heightens can help ease your dog’s storm-related stress especially if they’re dogs scared of loud noises.

RELATED ARTICLE: Pet Emergency Preparedness

2. Have a Safe Comfort Zone in Your Home

Whether it’s a crate, your bathtub, or under the bed, your dog may already gravitate toward a safe, comforting spot in your home. If so, allow your dog that comfort during a storm’s buildup, or when the fireworks boom. Just keep in mind that this is meant to help your dog, so if your dog dislikes their crate or whines when stuck in small places, ignore this advice. Make sure to keep the crate and any room doors open so that if you pet does become uncomfortable, it’s easy for them to run and hide.

RELATED ARTICLE: A Guide to Dog Crates and Collars

3. Cover Up the Noises

Consider using a white noise machine, playing music, or going into a remote area of your home like the basement, far from outside noises, to help obscure the sounds of thunder or fireworks. Even turning on the TV or the radio can help to distract dogs scared of loud noises.

4. Distract, Distract, Distract

Just as you might look away when you’re getting a shot, distractions can help take your dog’s mind off of the loud noises. Try playing games indoors — tug of war or tossing around stuffed animals or soft balls could be all the distraction your dog needs from the storm.

5. Get Dogs Accustomed to Loud Noises

This won’t work day-of, but you can try planning ahead and slowly getting your dogs desensitized to loud noises. Try playing the sounds of thunder and firecrackers at a low volume, while providing your dog with positive reinforcement in the form of cuddles and treats. Over the course of days or weeks, gradually raise the volume slightly, being certain to stop playing the track when your dog becomes anxious. With exposure, it’s possible that your dog will become accustomed to the noise and realize that nothing scary or threatening will occur.

COMMUNITY CONVERSATION: My Dog Is Terrified During Thunderstorms. What Should I do?

Tell us: Does your dog get skittish from loud noises? Share your tips in the comments! And don’t forget that all pets can benefit from PetPlus, a new benefit program for pet owners that provides member-only access to medications at wholesale prices, plus discounts on food, supplies, vet visits, boarding and more.



Tips to Keep Your Dog Safe at the Beach

Keep your Dog Safe at the Beach

The dog days of summer are upon us, and many pet parents are taking their four-legged friends to the beach for some fun in the sun. The beach can be a great place to kick back, relax, cool down, and toss a frisbee with a furry companion, but before heading out to sea, it’s important to be prepared to keep your pal safe on land and in the water. Check out our tips for keeping your dog safe at the beach.


  • Before taking your dog to the beach, make sure that your dog is allowed to be there! While many beaches are dog-friendly, others are not, and taking your dog to a people-only beach could result in a citation or fine.
  • If you take your dog to a dog-friendly beach, remember that posted beach rules are laws, so follow them carefully. Common beach rules include keeping your dog off of dunes, cleaning up after your dog, and keeping your dog on a leash which is extremely important in keeping your dog safe on the beach.
  • Make sure that your dog is up to date on their vaccinations.
  • Your dog should wear a collar with an ID tag at all times. Your dog should also know the “come” command if you plan to let them off leash.
  • Be prepared with a pet first aid kit in the event that your dog steps on a piece of glass or has an unfortunate encounter with a jellyfish.
  • Dogs that should not go to the beach include: puppies under 4 months (for their own safety), aggressive dogs (for their own safety and the safety of others), and female dogs in heat (because they could cause fighting amongst intact male dogs).
  • Be a good citizen. Don’t let your dog bother other dogs, bark excessively, or otherwise disturb other beach-goers who are trying to relax. If your dog is causing a scene or making a mess, it is probably time to head home.

RELATED STORY: The 7 Unsuspected Pet Dangers of Summer

Tips to Keep Your Dog Safe in the Water

  • Don’t assume that your dog can swim. While it’s true that some dogs are natural swimmers, others — especially those with flat faces (like pugs) — find it more difficult to take a dip. If you’re not sure about your pup’s water skills, outfit them with a life vest and supervise your dog whenever they get into the water.
  • Even if your dog is an expert swimmer, lead them toward calmer waters and away from dangers like speedboats and riptides, and ask a lifeguard to point out any potential danger spots.
  • Don’t let your dog drink salt water. While you won’t be able to keep your dog from taking a few gulps here and there, you should discourage them from drinking too much as salt water in excess can cause vomiting, diarrhea, and even salt poisoning. Additionally, some waters may contain dangerous illness-carrying microorganisms. Bring plenty of fresh water along and offer that to your dog instead.
  • Salt water can also irritate a dog’s skin, so rinse your dog with fresh water before leaving the beach or upon returning home.

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Tips to Keep Your Dog Safe in the Sun

  • It can get hot at the beach, so look out for signs of overheating and heatstroke, including rapid panting, drooling, loss of coordination, vomiting, diarrhea, collapse, and loss of consciousness. If your dog exhibits any of these symptoms, get them out of the sun immediately and head to the vet’s office.
  • Hot sand can burn sensitive paws. Bring a blanket or towel for your dog and consider dog booties if it’s a particularly steamy day.
  • Offer a shady place for your dog to take a break, like under an umbrella or a pop-up tent.
  • Dogs with pink noses and light, thin coats are at risk for sunburn and skin cancer. Apply dog sunscreen to your dog’s ears, nose, belly, and any other exposed areas. Some dogs — like those with hair loss or very thin hair — may also benefit from wearing a dog t-shirt.

Now that you’re prepared, go have some fun! Do you take your dog to the beach? Leave a comment and tell us about it, and to keep your pet safe and healthy all year round, consider signing up for PetPlus! PetPlus is a benefit program for pet owners that provides member-only access to medications at wholesale prices, plus discounts on food, supplies, vet visits, boarding, and more.