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Dog days of summer? It's a heat wave!

This year's summer sun can sometimes prove too hot for many people and their furry friends.

In many ways, dogs have it worse than people. When the temperature rises, we can remove our winter coats and walk around in cool summer clothes. But our furry friends can't. They're stuck with those heat-absorbing fur coats. Is it any wonder your pet often seems lazy and lethargic on hot days? Like us, our pets need to stay cool and out of the intense sun and heat. Undomesticated wild animals, as well as dogs, typically seek out cool shady places, such as under the shade of a tree. It's instinctual animal wisdom in practice. After all, just like people, dogs can suffer from dehydration, and other heat-related problems.

To help you keep your pet cool and healthy for the rest of the summer, we've compiled a list of helpful information you can use to keep our fur babies cool, healthy and happy.

How to help your furry friends beat the summer heat:

1. Make sure your pet has access to a bowl of cool, fresh water at all times. And keep that bowl in the shade if possible. Add a few cubes of ice to keep the water cool. Older pets, puppies, overweight pets, and sick pets are more susceptible to the heat than young healthy dogs. But check ALL your pets often to make sure they aren't having trouble breathing or are panting too heavily.

2. If you have access to a patio or back yard, fill a kiddy pool with a few inches of water to help your dog stay cool.

3. Try walking or exercising your dogs in the early mornings and evenings when the sun isn't as strong. Reduce the duration and intensity of any exercise your pet engages in.

4. Run floor fans that can provide your pets with a fresh cooling breeze.

5. If you have air conditioning in your home, make sure your pets can enjoy the cool air as well.

6. People like ice cream and iced tea on hot days. Your pets will appreciate dog-appropriate cold treats as well. Put some of their favorite snacks and chew toys in the freezer. The frozen snacks and toys will help cool their bodies and entertain them as well.

Signs of heat stroke, hyperthermia, dehydration, and other heat-related problems:

If your dog is drooling or salivating heavily, panting heavily, having trouble breathing, or even vomiting, or showing unusual signs of fatigue and inactivity, consider calling your vet immediately. Other signs of heat stroke can include a very red or purple tongue, rapid breathing, rapid heart beat, glazed eyes, excessive thirst, fever, dizzines, poor coordination, diarrhea, seizures and unconsciousness. As soon as possible, spray your dog with cool or cold water, or put them in a tub of cool water to cool off their bodies. Or apply cold, wet towels or ice packs to cool their bodies, including head, neck, groin, and belly.

Additional helpful facts are available at the following links:

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