Dogs add special meaning to our lives. They provide companionship, give you a reason to get out and exercise and greet you with a welcome and loving smile every day. In return, you give them the nutrition, exercise and support they need to stay healthy. The summer heat can make that more challenging. Whether you have just welcomed a new dog into your home or you're just looking for a few tips for an older pet, these tips are sure to help keep your furry companion happy and healthy all summer long. 

1. Keep Him Active

You don't want to overdo it, but your dog does still needs plenty of opportunities for exercise. Take an early morning walk to beat the worst of the heat or head out to the beach where he can play in the water to cool off. There are also plenty of indoor games that can provide stimulation for your dog. 

2. Provide Relief From the Heat

You may walk around in shorts and a tee-shirt all summer, but your pup has a permanent fur coat. If your dog stays outside during the day, provide a shady or covered spot in the yard where they can rest out of the sun. Fresh water is important for dogs, so always ensure access to a steady supply. Misting fans and kiddie pools are a couple of other ideas to help combat the dog days of summer. 

3. Keep Fleas and Ticks at Bay

Even if you are careful about keeping your home clean and pest-free, fleas and ticks can hitch a ride in on your dog and multiply rapidly. All it takes is one stray or wild animal to bring them into your yard. Take preventative action to avoid the headache of pest removal. Look for lawn care services that can help you keep the yard maintained and insect-free and use a topical product to deter any stragglers from biting your dog. 

4. Be Mindful of Fireworks

A lot of dogs are afraid of the loud noises that accompany fireworks. Don't force a scared dog to sit near a fireworks display, even if it is just a small backyard one. Give them a safe and comfortable place to get away from the commotion. There are plenty of specialty supplements designed to help ease anxiety. 

5. Protect His Paws

Asphalt and other dark-colored surfaces get really hot in the summer. If you have ever tried to walk across a parking lot barefoot, then you know this first hand. The next time you ask your dog to head out with you, think about how hot that pavement is on his paws. Let him walk on grassy surfaces whenever possible to avoid burns and blisters. 

6. Practice Car Safety

A parked car heats up to dangerous levels within minutes the summer heat. If you take your K9 companion out and about with you, make sure he can go into any places you are planning to stop. Otherwise, you are probably best skipping that stop or leaving him at home to be safe. 

There are so many rewards to welcoming a dog into your life. Help them stay safe and comfortable this summer by practicing general safety, providing access to fresh water and cooling station and keeping nuisance pests at bay.