Ah, sweet summertime. For many of us, summer brings days at the pool, vacations, time at the park, and a lot more time outside. Your pet will probably be spending more time outside, too! Since our dogs and cats can’t tell us when they’re getting too hot or thirsty, we have to take extra precautions to keep our pets safe and cool in hot weather.

Help keep your furry friend safe this summer by following these hot weather safety tips provided by Thomas Labs®!

1. Take your pet to the vet.

During the summer, pets are often exposed to other dogs and cats, whether that’s on a walk, at the dog park, or at the kennel while you’re on vacation. This puts your pet at an increased risk of catching diseases. Your vet can make sure your dog or cat is up to date on necessary vaccines, which is important for helping prevent infectious diseases. Your vet can also give you advice about preventative medication for heartworm, fleas, and ticks.

2. Never leave your pet in a parked vehicle.

Sadly, most people don’t realize how hot it can get in a parked vehicle on a warm day. According to the ASPCA, on an 85-degree day, it only takes 10 minutes for the inside of your car to reach 102 degrees. Your car can easily overheat, even if the window is cracked open. Overheating in pets can easily lead to heat stroke, which can be fatal in pets. If you plan to be out on a hot day, it’s probably best to leave your pet at home in the air conditioning.

3. Keep your pet hydrated.

Making sure your dog or cat gets plenty of fresh, clean water is important, since pets can get dehydrated quickly. Making sure your pet has access to shade and fresh water, limiting exercise on hot days, and keeping your pet indoors when it’s hot will help prevent dehydration. Giving your pet an electrolyte supplement, like HydrADE from Thomas Pet, can help support hydration during the summer heat.

4. Know the signs of overheating/dehydration.

It’s important for pet owners to be familiar with the signs of overheating/dehydration in pets. You should watch your pet’s behavior closely, and be on the lookout for difficult breathing, excessive panting, increased heart rate, weakness, and collapse. Flat-faced (brachycephalic) breeds, older animals, and overweight pets are more prone to developing heat exhaustion.

5. Keep poisonous substances/food out of reach.

Many pet owners use rodenticides and lawn and garden insecticides during the warmer months. These substances can be harmful to dogs and cats if ingested, so it’s best to keep them out of reach. Other poisonous substances/food that are popular during the summer include alcoholic beverages, grapes, and chocolate. You should call your vet or the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center at (888) 426-4435 if you suspect your animal has ingested a poisonous substance.

6. Don’t leave your pet unsupervised around a pool.

Although many people think that all dogs are good swimmers, this simply isn’t true. That’s why it’s best to keep a close eye on your furry friend around pools and other bodies of water. If your dog does end up going swimming, you should rinse them off afterward to remove chlorine or salt from his fur. If you’re taking your pet on a boat, make sure your pooch wears a flotation device.

7. Be careful on hot asphalt.

When the temps are very high, you shouldn’t let your pet linger on hot asphalt, which can burn sensitive paw pads. Plus, it can increase your pet’s body temperature and lead to overheating. It’s best to walk your dog during the early mornings and later in the evenings when the weather (and pavement!) is cooler.

8. Never shave your dog.

You may think your pooch will find sweet relief from a shave, but shaving your dog actually removes your dog’s protective coat layers, which can leave him susceptible to overheating and sunburn. Shaving down to a one-inch length is recommended for protection from the sun. If you have a cat, you can brush your furry feline more often than usual to help remove excess fur and prevent problems caused by excessive heat.

9. Don’t leave unscreened windows open.

Having open, unscreened windows can be dangerous for pets that can easily fall out. We all know that cats can be curious, so it’s best to leave those unscreened windows shut!

10. Travel safely with your pet.

If your summer plans include traveling with your pet, make sure you take steps to ensure safe travel for your pet. Planning ahead is key! With a little extra precaution and planning ahead, your family and furry friend can have a safe, comfortable, and cool summer.