We here in the Berkshires love our pets, and we have an abundance of dog owners too!

As the weather heats up across the country, millions of people will be taking their pets on the road with them and some of those pets may never return home. As of May 2018, 28 states have laws regarding leaving animals unattended in parked cars, to protect them from unsafe and potentially dangerous conditions, one of these being high temperatures.

JoAnna Pendergrass, DVM at Honest Paws gave us her best tips for caring for your pet during the hottest months of the year.

Never leave your dog in your car!! The inside temperature of a car rises rapidly in the summer. It could take only minutes for your dog to become fatally overheated.

Keep your house air-conditioned all day, even when you’re not at home.

Walk your dog in the early morning and late evening, avoiding the hottest parts of the day.

When walking your dog, try to walk him on the grass to protect his paw pads from the heat of asphalt.

Keep your dog indoors as much as possible.

When you play outside with your dog, make sure that he has easy access to cool, fresh water. Also, limit his outdoor playtime.

If your dog is relaxing or playing outside, make sure that he has access to shade. Portable sun shades are a great idea.

Give your dog a cool place to lie down, indoors or outdoors. Elevated cots and cooling pet pads work well.

Pay close attention to signs of heat exhaustion: dizziness, excessive panting, difficulty breathing, excessive drooling, not urinating, weakness, vomiting or diarrhea, rapid pulse, and abnormally colored gums. If your dog is showing any of these signs, bring your dog inside immediately and call your veterinarian.

Consider purchasing UV-blocking clothes to reduce your dog’s risk of sunburn and skin cancer.

Avoid shaving your dog’s coat. Your dog’s coat is designed to keep him cool in the summer and protect him from sunburn.

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