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10 ways to keep dogs safe in the summer sun (that they'll actually enjoy)

Brandie Gonzales oversees all things pet lifestyle as well as consumer public relations at, the simple, savvy way to find and book a neighborhood dog sitter.

Don't let the summer heat get the best of your dog

Summertime is a fun time for dogs and their families! Going on picnics, playing in water, camping, hiking and taking beach excursions are just that much better with a furry friend along. As temperatures rise, it's important to keep your dog safe and cool. Heat stroke in pets is a real health concern, and dehydration can happen more quickly than you expect. The good news is that it's easier than you think to keep your dog happy this summer. These simple ideas will help you and your dog beat the heat.

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1. Homemade ice lick

Think of this as a giant doggy popsicle. Freeze chew toys in a bucket (or Bundt pan, for a ring shape). Try blending in chicken broth or peanut butter for extra flavor. Once it's frozen solid, simply empty the container for a DIY treat your dog won't be able to resist. This is a great way to alleviate dog boredom too!

2. Kiddie pool

When you can't make it to the beach, bring the beach to your backyard. You can opt for a dog-specific pool like this one or go the classic route. Think hard plastic with a pattern of colorful fish — inexpensive and lightweight but sturdy enough for dog paws. It's also easy to rinse, clean and dry.

3. Flavored water

Having trouble getting your dog to drink enough water? Add a flavor boost. A splash of chicken broth will entice most pups to drink. Alternatively, try draining the water from a can of tuna into your dog's bowl. Just watch how fast it gets lapped up!

4. Dog sunscreen

Yes, your dog might need sunblock too. Hairless dogs are prone to sunburn, along with dogs sporting bald spots. When choosing a sunscreen for your pooch, keep it simple. Opt for unscented, mild and natural brands, such as those for children or babies. Safety tip: Avoid brands with zinc oxide, which is a common ingredient that can be toxic to dogs if eaten.

5. DIY freezer treats

Slushies, popsicles and other refreshing treats aren't just for humans! Check out these fabulous options for quick, wholesome hot-weather goodies for your dog. They couldn't be easier. Simply mix, freeze and feed. We're especially fond of these icy watermelon treats from Gone to the Snow Dogs.

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6. Doggy day care

If you work all day and your dog is home alone, it's important to keep your house cool enough for your pet's comfort. If you don't have A/C or if the prospect of a giant electric bill is daunting, we recommend doggy day care. It's easy to find and book the perfect daytime companion for your dog. They'll get out to play, and you'll get peace of mind.

7. Car safety for dogs

Car accidents can be just as dangerous for our pets! Fortunately, dog seat belts exist. Unfortunately, most of them aren't very effective. The Center for Pet Safety did a big study testing various dog seat belts, and only one clear winner emerged: the Sleepypod Clickit Utility Harness. It's reasonably affordable at $65 - $85 — and well worth the peace of mind.

8. Wet food, please

This tip is so simple, it's easy to overlook. As the weather heats up, consider replacing some of your dog's dry food with a nutritious wet variety. Canned foods contain more moisture and will help keep your dog hydrated.

9. Dog cooling vest

We love this wearable option from Ruffwear, which will keep your dog cool on the go. Simply soak it, wring it out and put it on your dog. It harnesses the power of natural evaporative cooling — mimicking the way that humans sweat. Feeling DIY? You can make your own with an old pair of cargo pants!

10. Create shade

Last not but least, don't underestimate the power of shade. From the backyard to the beach, make sure your dog has a shady resting spot to beat the heat. Set up camp under a tree, encourage naps under the picnic table, string up a tarp and buy a giant beach umbrella. You can also try a pop-up canopy just for dogs, like this one from Quik Shade. Just don't let your dog retreat to the tent or the dog house on a hot day. Temperatures are actually higher in there!

More: 13 Things your dog is thinking when you come home from vacation

Brandie Gonzales oversees all things pet lifestyle at, the simple, savvy way to find and book a neighborhood dog sitter.

Don't let the summer heat get the best of your dog
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