The heat is on this summer, and it doesn’t take long for your dog to suffer a heat-related illness or injury if they’re left outside or in a hot car. Many dog owners simply get overzealous and want to bask in the sun with their pet. But if you aren’t careful, there could be trouble.

According to Dr. Camille DeClementi, Senior Toxicologist at the ASPCA’s Animal Poison Control Center, “Most people love to spend the warmer days enjoying the outdoors with friends and family, but it is important to remember that some activities can be dangerous for our pets. By following a few simple rules, it is easy to keep your pet safe while still having fun in the sun.” Here are some tips to keep in mind!

Visit Your Vet: It’s important to take your pup in for an early summer check-up. At this time, make sure they are tested for heartworm, as mosquitoes can pass this to your dog. Be sure your pet is on a flea and tick control program as well.

Water and Shade: It doesn’t take long for your dog to get dehydrated, so make sure they have plenty of fresh, clean water to drink when it’s hot out. Additionally, give them a shady place to relax outside so they can get out of the sun.

Know the Warning Signs: Overheating is dangerous, so you should know the warning signs, which include excessive panting or difficulty breathing, increased heart and respiratory rate, drooling, mild weakness, stupor or even collapse. If you have a pug, this is especially important, as these dogs have a flat face and don’t pant as effectively as other canines.

Pets and Cars: Pets should never be left unattended in a car, but this is even more true on a hot day. Even with the windows down, it doesn’t take long for a car to become a furnace. This can lead to head stroke and death in a short space of time.

Swimming Safety: If you have a pool, be sure to supervise your pet around the water. Like children, not all pets are good swimmers, and it’s important to know your dog’s limits when it comes to the water. Is your pool chlorinated? Make sure to rinse them off after a swim to remove the chemicals from their fur. And of course, discourage them from drinking pool water, which could lead to stomach upset.

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