Summer is here, and the hot, humid weather means it’s time for pool parties, barbecues, trips to the lake, and visits to the ice cream shop. But while you’re enjoying the sun, remember that dogs and cats wear fur coats year-round — and they need your help to beat the heat!

Here are five ways to protect your pets from the midwest heat and the risk of heat stroke this summer.

Bring your pets indoors!

When it’s hot outside, shady areas can only be so cooling to your furry friend. Let your dogs and cats join you inside the house to protect them from the sun and high temperatures.

Walk your dog during cooler hours!

Sure, doggie shoes look cute, but most canines hate wearing them. Save your pup’s paws from the hot pavement and sidewalks the easy way by walking them on dirt or grass, and walk during the early morning or late afternoon, when the sun is least harsh. Want to know if the pavement will burn your pooch’s paws? Place the back of your hand on top of the sidewalk, driveway, or street and hold it there for five seconds — if it’s too hot for you, it’s too hot for them.

Friends don’t let friends sit in hot cars!

Even with the windows down, pets can overheat in cars in 10 minutes — or less. While popping around town with your furry friend can be fun, it’s best to leave them at home indoors. Just think how excited they’ll be to greet your return!

Watch this video of veterinarian Dr. Ernie Ward as he locks himself parked car on a summer day to see how dangerous it is to leave a pet inside a car:

Provide plenty of water!

Just like their human counterparts, dogs and cats get extra thirsty when temperatures rise. Fresh, cool water helps keep pets hydrated during the summer, and adding ice cubes to their bowls can be a special treat!

Watch for signs of heat stroke!

Heat stroke is dangerous to pets, and can quickly turn deadly. Watch for signs like:

  • Heavy panting
  • Glazed eyes
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Excessive thirst
  • Excessive drooling
  • Fever
  • Vomiting
  • Seizures or unconsciousness

Pet Owner Tip: How to Treat a Pet Suffering from Heat Stroke

  • Move your pet to a shaded/air-conditioned area immediately.
  • Apply ice packs/cold towels to the pet’s head, neck, and chest, or run cool — not cold — water over them.
  • Give your pet small amounts of water or let them lick ice cubes.
  • Take your pet to a veterinarian immediately.

Cool cats know that hot dogs are only good for picnics! By following these tips and being weather-aware, your pets will be better able to enjoy a safe, fun summer with you.

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