I've noticed lately that a lot of my friends, knowing how much I love animals, keep asking me if I have any advice on keeping our furry friends safe and happy when it's extremely hot out.

Let's not forget that we as humans are not the only ones who suffer during extreme temperatures. I mean, imagine wearing a fur coat when it's 90+ degrees. Here are some tips for pet owners on giving the four-legged members of your extended family some relief:

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  • Humidity can affect your pet. If the humidity is too high, they are unable to cool themselves and their temperature will skyrocket to dangerous levels—very quickly. Taking a dog's temperature will quickly tell you if there is a serious problem. Dogs' temperatures should not reach over 104 degrees
  • Limit exercise to early morning or evening hours
  • Be particularly careful with pets that have white-colored ears. They are more susceptible to skin cancer
  • Also, be especially careful with pets that have short noses. They typically have a more difficult time breathing
  • Asphalt can actually burn your pet's paws when it gets too hot, so walk your dog on the grass whenever possible
  • Any time your pet(or pets) is outside, make sure you provide ample shade and plenty of cold water. In fact, whenever possible, add ice to the water. For shade, use anything that doesn't obstruct air flow. Keep in mind that a doghouse does not provide relief from the heat-- in fact, it makes it worse.
  • Watch for signs of heatstroke which include a rapid heartbeat, heavy panting or difficulty breathing, glazed eyes, excessive thirst, dizziness, and a deep red or purple tongue

Let's try and do our best to keep our animal friends safe and cool for the long, hot summer ahead.

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