The last thing you want on a beautiful summer day is for you or your pet to get sick from becoming overheated. There’s too much to enjoy in the summertime! But it’s not hard to stay cool and keep the good times rolling if you follow these helpful tips.

Never Leave Pets in a Parked Car

With all the tragic stories in the news, this should go without saying — but you should never ever leave your pet in a parked car, not even for a moment. According to The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “Cars parked in direct sunlight can reach internal temperatures up to 131° F – 172° F (55° C – 78° C) when outside temperatures are 80° F – 100° F (27° C – 38° C).” Temperatures can rise quickly into the 100° F – 120° F range even with the windows cracked. This is hot enough to cause irreversible organ damage or even death.

Dog houses aren’t safe in hot weather either, because they block air flow and trap the heat inside. If your pet is outside, be sure to keep him or her in the shade when possible, with plenty of water on hand. You can add ice if it’s especially hot out.

Keep Heat Exposure to a Minimum

Avoid exercising with your pet on a hot day, and if you must, at least avoid the midday hours or anytime it seems too hot for yourself. When going for a walk, avoid hot asphalt that can burn your pet’s paws, keep running to a minimum, and bring plenty of cool water with you.

Humidity can make matters worse since pets have a harder time cooling themselves by panting, which can send their internal temperatures dangerously high. Fans aren’t enough either. There are cooling products for pets, such as wraps and vests, but it’s best to keep your pet cool by keeping him or her from overheating in the first place. A cool bath can help dogs who like baths — and the occasional cat who likes to get wet! (They do exist.)

Watch Out for Heatstroke

Heatstroke is a serious hazard for pets on hot days, especially those who are very young or old, or not in good condition. Petfinder recommends watching for the following signs of heatstroke in your pet: excessive panting, salivating, discomfort, vomiting, diarrhea, disorientation, and seizures.

If you see any of these signs in your pet, move him or her into a cooler environment right away and call your veterinarian. You can use ice packs and give your pet some cool water to alleviate the condition until you get to the veterinarian’s office.

Summertime is for fun and games, so keep these tips in mind for a safe and happy season.

Photo Credit: Rocky Mountain Feline Rescue via Flickr