6 Ways to Keep Your Dog Comfortable This Summer: 4th of July Safety Tips

A small senior Dachshund standing by a lake in the summer wearing a cute dog lifejacket

As our best fur friends age, they undergo changes that can impact their comfort and well-being. With the summer heat and the 4th of July approaching, it’s essential to prioritize your senior dog’s safety and comfort. Here are six easy ways to keep your senior pup happy, comfortable, and feeling like their younger selves this summer.

1. Create a Comfortable Living Environment

Creating a cozy haven is key to keeping your senior dog happy this summer. Plush, orthopedic bedding can help alleviate joint pain, and placing their bed in a cool, shaded spot will help them beat the heat. Cooling mats or beds can also be a great addition to regulate their body temperature. If you’re heading out for the 4th of July festivities, set up their cozy spot in a quiet, cool room to help them stay calm during the fireworks.

2. Encourage Gentle Exercise

Regular exercise remains a priority for senior dogs, but it needs to match their abilities and the summer heat. Low-impact activities like gentle walks and swimming can relieve joint stress and keep them cool. Schedule walks during the cooler parts of the day, such as early morning or late evening, to avoid the peak heat. If it’s too hot outside, consider indoor activities such as an enrichment activity in an air-conditioned room. For example, fold over the edges of an empty toilet paper tube or paper towel tube, cut one or two holes in the tube and place a small treat inside. Hide around the room so your dog can find and retrieve the treat.

3. Stimulate the Mind

Keeping your dog’s mind active is just as important as physical exercise, especially in the summer. Puzzle toys can keep their brains buzzing and provide a fun distraction from the heat. These toys can be filled with treats or kibble, encouraging problem-solving. On the 4th of July, engaging your dog with these activities can also help distract them from the noise of fireworks and reduce their anxiety.

4. Provide Comfort and Companionship

Summer is a great time to be outside, and your senior pup will likely want to join in. Keep their comfort in mind—if you can, spend time near bodies of water to keep them cool and hydrated. Alternatively, bond indoors during the hottest parts of the day with leisurely petting sessions or obedience training in an air-conditioned space. Create an indoor obstacle course using furniture. Avoid the live fireworks if your dog is easily scared by loud noises. Leaving them at home during the 4th of July celebrations may be the best choice. To keep them calm and comfortable, leave on relaxing music or TV to help to relieve anxiety.

5. Monitor Their Diet and Well-being

As your pup gets older, their nutritional needs shift, and summer heat can make appetites wane. Ensure they always have fresh water to stay hydrated and offer ice cubes or dog-safe broth popsicles to cool them down! Switching to a new food (gradually, of course!), especially a quality senior dog food can make a big difference. Consult your veterinarian and look for options with the right balance of protein, reduced calories, extra fiber, antioxidants, and omega fatty acids. And remember, with the 4th of July barbecues coming up, avoid giving your pup table scrap —what’s delicious for us can be harmful to them and leave them with an upset stomach.

6. Monitor Health and Well-being 

Summer heat can worsen certain health issues in senior dogs, so keep a close eye on their well-being. Watch for signs of heat stress like excessive panting or restlessness. If they seem too hot, move them to a cooler area, offer water, and apply a cool cloth to their footpads. Dogs’ paws, especially seniors, can be quite sensitive to hot pavements. During the 4th of July parades and festivities, be mindful of this.

Summary

As you enjoy the summer with your senior dog, it’s important to consider their needs, especially with 4th of July and warmer temperatures. Ensure they have a cool, comfortable space to rest and address any of their health concerns with your veterinarian. With just a bit of proper planning, your senior dog’s summer safety will be ensured, and all family members, two and four-footed, will enjoy the 4th of July holiday.

Leap Years is helping to change the process of “how dogs age,” enhancing their healthspan and quality time together with the family.

Leap Years — More life in your dog, more dog in your life.

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