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Summer is officially here in West Michigan, meaning the warm days we’ve been experiencing lately are here to stay for a while. After spending the winter months cooped up, we’re ready to get outside with our families...and our pets! Here are some tips for ensuring your dog or cat has the best summer ever!

Talk to your vet. Make sure your pet is up-to-date on vaccinations and that you have a supply of flea and tick preventative on hand, as well as the best heartworm preventative for your dog. Summertime play brings your pet into contact with other animals, as well as the tiny pests that can range from a minor annoyance to carriers of deadly illnesses.

Make the most of your road trips. Taking the whole family on a mini vacation? Don’t forget to make it safe for your best friend! Wrap ice packs in towels to place in your dog’s crate, or line his crate with a cooling pad. Bring fresh water and a bowl and keep the supply replenished when you stop.

Watch those paws. You are likely familiar with the painful feeling of walking across sand barefoot on a hot summer day. Remember that feeling when planning your daily walks! When the summer sun has been beating down on asphalt surfaces, they can become unbearably hot for your pet’s unprotected feet. Have your pet walk in the grass beside the blacktop surface, or take your walks early in the morning or later in the evening.

Provide the essentials. Your pet loves all the extra time outside during the summer, but it’s up to you to make sure that time is well spent. Keep a regular eye on your pet while he’s outside. Make sure there’s always a shady, well-ventilated area for your pet to lie down. Have fresh water on hand at all times. One tip for a great summer treat: Buy a child’s wading pool and keep it filled with fresh, cool water.

The “dog days” of summer don’t have to be a drag! Get outside and safely make some summer memories!

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