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5 ways to keep your pet cool this summer

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Summer is a great time to take your pet outside but with Texas’ triple-digit temperatures, it’s important to make sure your fluffy friend stays safe.

Dogs and cats don’t sweat like humans do and it doesn’t take much for them to overheat. Pet owners should be on the lookout for symptoms of heat exhaustion.

Brandon Bennett, a spokesperson of Fort Worth’s Animal Care and Control Centers, says excessive panting, a dry nose and tongue, and lethargy or weakness are warning signs for cats and dogs. If your pet seems to be in extreme distress, you should call a veterinary specialist immediately.

Here are some tips for keeping your pet safe:

1. Stay indoors or provide shade

A controlled climate can help an animal better regulate their body temperatures. While outdoor doghouses may help block the elements during other seasons, in the summer, it can become an oven, trapping in heat. A shaded yard with plenty of trees can help prevent overheating. Better yet, an air-conditioned room will keep you and your pet comfortable.

2. Have water available

Just like us, our four-legged companions can get dehydrated very quickly in the summer months. It’s important to have drinkable water readily available and convenient for your pet. If you have a dog door, it’s smart to keep a water bowl both inside and outside. You should also keep a close eye on pets and make sure they’re consistently drinking water.

3. Don’t shave your pet

Some people may think that taking off that layer of fur will cool their pet down. However, this act could hurt the animal. “This coat helps to keep the direct sunlight off the dog and is a cooling mechanism, much like [we] might wear a hat or put on a long-sleeved shirt to protect ourselves from the dangerous sun rays,” Bennett explains.

4. Don’t leave your pet in the car

Similar to the doghouse scenario, a car can heat up very quickly – especially in Texas. It can take less than 10 minutes for a pet to develop heat stroke in a hot car. If you see a pet alone in a car in dangerous temperatures, don’t hesitate to try and find the owner or call for help.

5. Protect your pet’s paws from the pavement

Finally, try to keep your pet’s paws off hot concrete or asphalt. A good rule of thumb is to put the palm of your hand on the ground. If you can’t keep it there because of the heat, then you shouldn’t let your pet walk on it. If you have to go outside, stick to grassy areas or walk when it’s cooler, in the early morning and late evening.

Gloria Farris covers Fort Worth and Tarrant County. Got a tip? Email Gloria at gfarris@kera.org.

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Gloria is a News Reporter at KERA covering news from the Fort Worth and Tarrant County area.