Don’t let your pet miss out on summer fun

Summer vacation is officially here and for our family, this is one of the busiest times of the year. We usually spend our evenings and weekends working in the garden, remodeling our home, going to picnics and parties, and going on a family vacation. With all of our pets, however, it can be difficult trying to include them in these activities or leaving them with people we trust to care for them while we are away. Here are a few tips to get through the busy summer with your pets:

Don’t forget to give your pets the attention they deserve. Even though we have a jam packed schedule, I try to make time to get up early and hike with my dogs or throw the ball for my Border collie when I get home from work. I also make sure to spend some time with each one of my cats at night before bed.

Hire a pet-sitter while you are away. Find a relative or another animal lover by word of mouth. Visit websites such as or These websites give you the option to find a reliable pet caretaker in your area. If you do hire a pet sitter, be sure to leave emergency contact numbers including your pet’s veterinarian day number and night emergency number and all up to date vaccine records. Also let your veterinarian know who will be watching your pet and that you will be giving them permission to seek treatment if necessary in case of an emergency. Leave explicit instructions on any medications your pet may be on and any side effects these medications may have.

Consider boarding your pet. If your pet is on any medications or has a medical condition, a great place to board would be at your veterinarian’s office. What better place to keep your pet while under the watchful eye of a veterinarian and their professional staff members. Call us for more information on boarding your pet at the Dunkirk Animal Clinic and stop down and tour our boarding facilities. One new addition to our boarding facility is a camera system linked to the doctor’s home computers that allows us to check in on your pet at any time.

Bring your pets with you. Be sure they are on a leash at all times and come prepared. Whether you are going to the park or going boating on the lake, make sure to bring a good supply of water to keep your pet hydrated and cool. A collapsible bowl works well, which can be bought at any pet store along with water from home that your dog is used to drinking. Try to keep your pet in the shade to prevent them from getting overheated. Signs of heat exhaustion include excessive panting, trouble breathing, vomiting, lethargy and seizures.

Never leave your dog in a car on these hot summer days. The temperature can rise very rapidly leading to heat stroke and death in a very short time. I would avoid busy and noisy events like a fireworks display or a festival with your pets. The noises and chaos can startle your dog and they may get loose. We highly recommend having your pet microchipped to identify them in the rare event they get lost.

Whatever your plans are, we at the Dunkirk Animal Clinic hope you have a wonderful summer and enjoy the time with your family and your family pets! Below is a list of pet-friendly activities to do with your pet:

1. Swimming A great exercise, especially for older dogs with arthritis. For some dogs we recommend a doggy life-jacket and close monitoring.

2. Walking/hiking – Be sure to keep your dog protected with a flea and tick product as the ticks this year are quite prevalent and can carry Lyme disease. Also, try to take your pet during the cooler times of the day in the morning and evening.

3. Biking There are actually special attachments for your bike that prevent your dog from running too close and getting injured. Again, bring water along and do this during the cooler times of the day.

4. Camping Just make sure your keep your pup tied and with you at all times. Dogs can wander off and get lost in a strange environment.

5. Outdoor play Just playing fetch or running through the water sprinkler, these are my dogs’ favorite outdoor activities!