According to a survey by the American Pet Products Association, pets are in 70% of American homes, with 40% owning dogs. With the summer months approaching, dog owners must take steps to help their dogs stay healthy. Here are some steps that will help keep your dog feeling cool this summer.

1. Supply Cool Fluids and Snacks

It’s easy to understand: if you feel hot outside during the summer months, so will your dog. Your dog needs hydration as much as you do, so bring bottled water with you on your walks or fill a water dish in a place the dog frequents outdoors. Your dog also needs healthy, excellent snacks to replenish its minerals. You can freeze pumpkin, watermelon, and apples, remove the seeds, and use them as nutritious puppy treats.

2. Provide Cool Activities and Places

The sun can be beautiful and warm, but too much sun will put your dog at risk for heatstroke. If you and your fur baby spend time in the sun, find shady places to rest for part of the day. You can buy a cooling mat for them to lie down on, and you should hang a towel around their necks for extra coolness. Dogs enjoy playing in the water, so you can allow them to splash in a children’s pool under supervision.

3. Protect Their Paws from Heat

Although walking on grass or dirt won’t typically transfer heat to doggy paws, concrete, asphalt, and sand will, a surface that is too hot for you to rest your hands on is too hot for your pet to navigate. The surfaces of dogs’ paws can burn if they aren’t protected. If you and your family plan to travel to places where the dog will walk on those surfaces, invest in protective booties to cover their paws.

4. Don’t Leave Them Alone in a Hot Car

Once the temperature climbs above 70 degrees, the temperature inside your parked car can be dangerous for your pup. Even if you are parked under a shady tree, and the windows are cracked open, that situation can become intolerable. Once the car is parked, the inside temperature can rise too quickly, and the dog can develop heatstroke.

5. Look for Signs of Heatstroke

When your furry friend is outside enjoying the sun, too much sun can cause heatstroke. Check them for excessive panting, vomiting, or bloody diarrhea. If you see these signs, wrap your pet in a towel saturated with cool water – or pour cool water over them. Allow the dog to sip some cool water, and get it to a veterinarian as soon as possible.

6. Keep Your Dog Near Home

About 14% of dogs become lost within five years. You can’t keep your puppy healthy if they run away, so begin with a physical or an electric fence. One of the most common reasons dogs will try to go beyond their home yards is because they want to mate. Spaying or neutering your pets will eliminate that urge.

7. Know the Signs of Rabies

Dogs who get out of your yard can be at risk of being bitten by a rabid animal. Approximately 5,000 cases of rabies are reported annually. The most typical signs of rabies in dogs may include combative behavior and foamy saliva around their mouths. If you believe your dog has rabies, call your veterinarian ASAP!

Summer can be an excellent time for you and your dog. You don’t have to avoid sunshine but know how to balance all that warmth. In case you and your pets get separated, get your pup microchipped as soon as possible. For you and your dog, the “dog days” of summer could be the best season of the year!