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How to protect your furry friends in the summer heat

With National Dog Day falling in one of the hottest months of the year, let's honor the holiday -- and our pets -- with a few safety tips!

AUSTIN — Our furry friends bring us lots of joy and healing during times of stress and strife.

In the summertime, joy is often accompanied with outdoor events, activities, family time and vacations. While enjoying your favorite pastime, it is also a time to protect yourself against the outdoor elements that usually tags along in the summer season -- heat, drought and sunburn.

But do you know the best ways to protect your pets? Let's dive in and explore some of the best tips to do so.

  • Hydration: Pets require plenty of fresh, clean water just as us humans do. Remember to allow time for shade, rest and hydration as to not allow overheating and dehydration.
  • Check before you lock: Remember to never leave pets unattended in a vehicle when running errands. In the summer heat, the inside of our vehicles can heat up fairly quickly within a matter of minutes. Not only can it lead to a fatal illness, but in many states, it is also illegal. Know the symptoms of an overheating pet. Symptoms include excessive panting, weakness, unsteadiness, restlessness, drooling, seizures, collapse, bloody diarrhea and/or vomiting.
  • Check before you walk: If you aren't willing to walk on a bare surface such as a street or sidewalk in the summer heat, neither should your pet. Surfaces heat up to unpleasant temperatures and your pet's paws can burn easily. Plan to walk your pet early in the morning or late in the evening and keep these times minimum if surfaces are still fairly hot.
  • Time for a trim: Experts say consider clipping your pet's hair but not shaving them. Also, brushing your pet regularly so that their coat remains clean and untangled can help alleviate issues with their skin and help them to stay cool.
  • Feast or famine: Our common foods at barbecues can actually be more harmful than tasty for our furry friends. Also, some of our favorite beverages with alcohol can lead to intoxication, depression and even comas. Digestive issues can also result from some of our summer foods. In addition, watch for your pet munching on your lawn and gardens where pesticides are normally used.
  • Cannonball! While a dip in the pool may be your ideal way of staying cool, not all dogs can swim. In fact, some pets hate the water. Always maintain supervision for your pet around an open swimming pool. Immediately rinse your pet from enduring the lingering effects of chlorine and don't allow them to drink the pool water which has more chemicals mixed in as well.

Lastly, a loving reward for your pet just may be a cold treat of some sort. They'll thank you for it with plenty of kisses and love.