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With temperatures in the 90s and above heating up the U.S., it’s essential to make sure our furry friends are cool and comfortable. Summer is never an easy time for pet owners, especially when a cat’s warm coat sheds, and dogs beg to go for their midday walk. Instead of exposing your pets to the hot and humid dog days of summer, make sure you give them the care they deserve!

Hydrate, Hydrate, Hydrate

Water is vital for every living creature, and that includes your pets! Check that water dishes are full of fresh water each day and wash them regularly.

To encourage water intake, offer wet food to pets. Canned wet foods are easy to eat and can be served cold—perfect for hot days! If pets are picky about what goes into their dishes, invest in a mini water fountain. Cats are known to enjoy drinking running water as opposed to stagnant water. A fountain is an inexpensive way to fulfill that natural need to drink from a flowing source.

Avoid Pavement

When walking dogs or letting pets outside, avoid asphalt and other dark surfaces. Dark colors absorb heat more quickly, and cement pathways are notorious for taking in heat and dishing it back out on poor pets’ paws. Try to keep your animals in grassy areas that won’t irritate the pads of their feet. If you must take a pet on a hot surface, invest in booties to prevent their paws from making direct contact with scorching sidewalks. If your area is prone to drawn-out heatwaves and grass is in short supply, look into purchasing an indoor potty pad for your dog!

Study Up on Symptoms

Even if your latest vet visit yielded positive results, be sure to read about overheating in pets. Look for symptoms such as excessive panting, rapid heart rate, weakness, lethargy, and vomiting. If you suspect your pet is suffering from overheating, contact your veterinarian right away. Note that flat-faced animals, particularly pugs and Persian cats, and animals with pre-existing conditions are susceptible to heat-related issues. Try to keep your pets in cool, air-conditioned rooms.

Don’t Leave Pets Unsupervised in Cars

While it’s fine to leave the AC on and head out to run errands, avoid leaving your pets in warm and hot areas. Specifically, don’t leave your pets unattended in parked cars. Even if you’re running into a store for just a minute, it doesn’t take long for the heat to become oppressive. Make sure that your pet is safe and cool at home before you jump in the car.