Keeping your furry friend safe and healthy as temperatures rise

If you're uncomfortable outside in the hot weather, your pet feels the same way

The summer is fast approaching, and temperatures are starting to rise, so it’s important to follow a few rules to ensure your furry friends stay safe and healthy.

As humans, we’re well aware of how uncomfortable and dangerous it can be when the heat rises.

It’s the same for our pets. So it’s good to remember that if we feel uncomfortable, they do, too.

Here are a few tips to keep your pet safe when temperatures soar.

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One of the most important things to remember is to never, under any circumstances, leave your pet alone in a parked car.

The Humane Society says temperatures inside a car can quickly rise to deadly levels, even when it’s not a summer scorcher. So, on an 85-degree day, temperatures inside a car, even with the window cracked, can rise to 102 degrees in 10 minutes.

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It's also important to limit your pet's activity as the temperatures rise.

"They need a little bit of time to acclimate to the weather also," Pure Paws medical director Dr. Stephanie Liff said. "So, you want to be mindful of those unexpectedly beautiful and warm days and not overdo it with your pets’ exercise."

Liff said you could slowly work up to more activity, but time is needed, so they don't get heatstroke or overheated.

And when trying to cool off your pet, don’t rely on a fan.

The Humane Society says our pets cool off differently than humans. Dogs, for example, sweat through their paws. So fans don’t cool them off as efficiently as they do humans.

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Try to limit walking your dog on the sidewalk on hot days.

"We definitely see some irritation on really hot pavement. So when it’s really warm, I live in New York City, and some of my patients can’t really walk in the heat of the day because it will hurt their paws," Liff said. "So, you just have to be thoughtful on all of these things. If it’s really hot and you don’t want to spend a lot of time outside, your pet probably doesn’t either."

You should also pay attention to signs of heatstroke.

The Humane Society says those symptoms include heavy panting, glazed eyes, a rapid heartbeat, difficulty breathing, excessive thirst, lethargy, fever, dizziness, lack of coordination, vomiting, a deep red or purple tongue, seizures and unconsciousness. 

If your pet has those symptoms, move them into the shade or an air-conditioned area. You can then apply ice packs or cold towels to their head or neck and chest. You can also run cool, not cold, water over them.

Call your veterinarian as soon as possible. 

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