Landscape & Hardscape Ideas, Lifestyle & Seasonal

Pets on the patio: Summer tips for dogs and cats

We love our pets. We want them to participate in our summer fun on the patio, but sometimes we forget our pets have special needs. For example, did you know that some dogs need sunscreen? Read on for more tips to keep your furry kids happy this summer.


Swimming in pools is one of the best parts of summer for a lot of dogs. When the fun is over, rinse them off with fresh water to clear their fur and skin of any chemicals that may irritate. Dogs have more sensitive eyes, ears, and mouths than we do; don’t let them spend too much time swimming and make sure to give an extra rinse to those areas.

Believe it or not, some dogs aren’t good swimmers. Always keep the gate locked and install a pool alarm that sends a signal when there is a sudden fall into the water. While you may get alerted for every passing duck that fancies a dip, it’s worth the added level of safety for people and pets. Install an escape ramp if there is no shallow end or graded entry into your pool and teach your dog how to use it.

Taking in small amounts of chlorinated water should be safe for your dog, but water from salt water pools poses a risk to ailing or aging dogs that are trying to keep their salt consumption to a minimum.

Cats don’t like water. If you have a cat that dive-bombs into the deep end, get ready for your videos to go viral. If you have a normal cat like the rest of us, keep the gate locked and be aware of sneaky climbing. Some cats are attracted to the smell of chlorine. It’s common to see a cat curled up in a damp beach towel. This weird activity is ok for cats but cat-dander allergic humans may want to avoid using that towel. Unlike dogs that can stomach a bit of pool water, cats tummies can tend to be more sensitive so it’s best to keep your cat from drinking chlorinated or salt water.

Pads and more

Paws, bellies and noses can be sensitive to heat and sun. Short-haired dogs like Italian Greyhounds are especially susceptible. Use a light cotton pillowcase to cover your dog’s belly to protect it from harmful rays, even if the dog is in the shade. Apply canine sunscreen to your dog’s nose before a day out, paying special attention to the top of the nose. Standing on hot pavers or even hotter pavement is not recommended for dogs or cats. Keep them on the lawn or keep them moving. When the hard summer heat hits, walk pets early in the morning or after 5 p.m. the evening. Treat your pet’s paws with pad lotion after a day out in the sun.

When outside, keep your dog in the shade and always provide plenty of fresh water       in bowls throughout the patio. (Dump the water each night to prevent mosquito breeding). Remember dogs have less heat regulation in their systems than humans. They can’t be out in the summer sun as long as we can.



Outdoor cats tend to find a shady spot and sleep all day. Provide plenty of water for them. If your indoor cat would like a bit of fresh air, consider building a trendy new patio addition affectionately called a “catio.” A catio is a cat jungle gym contained inside a screened structure. Add water, food and shade in the catio for your feline (and perhaps a little litter box for older cats), and let them have a few early morning or evening hours bird watching and dreaming about being the lion king on the plains of Africa.


A happy Fourth of July isn’t always the happiest of nights for your pets. Firework explosions can traumatize pets. When you can’t remove your dog from the situation, provide it with a safe place to hide, like under the bed, in a closet or in a bathtub. If possible, stay with your pet until the celebrations have subsided. This may be a good time to blast your favorite movie in surround sound, to drown out the noise from the fireworks.

Cats also prefer to hide from loud noises, but they may react a bit differently to fireworks. Instead of hiding, they may work themselves up into a panic. The key is to remain calm. Break out a special toy or some cat treats. Take them to a spot in the house that has more muffled sound, like a basement or a closet. To prepare your cat or dog for fireworks, you can play recorded sounds of thunder or fireworks and monitor their reactions.

Summer fun for all

Our pets are our furry family members and they have a right to their patio time, too. Take the time to address your pets’ special needs so they can happily pass the lazy days of summer with you outdoors.


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