The start of summer means it's time to start keeping your pets' safety in mind during the long, hot days!

Our dogs love to lay in the sun, swim in the pond, and ride in the car. And we're very indulgent. Okay, the truth is, we spoil them rotten! But just like with small children, sometimes a little extra care and guidance is needed to keep them safe. Here are a few tips on making sure your pets stay happy and healthy all summer long.

  • 1

    Make Sure They Have Plenty Of Water

    Animals can get dehydrated very quickly in hot weather, so it's important to make plenty of water available to them. When putting a bowl of water outside, always place it in a shaded area so it won't get too hot. And check it often to make sure it hasn't been knocked over or emptied.

    Ron Chapple Stock, ThinkStock
  • 2

    Keep Pets Inside With A Fan Or A/C

    On those really hot days, keep the pets inside as much as possible. A fan or air-conditioning that gives them some sort of air movement will keep them comfortable and safe. If they're outside, it's too easy for them to stay in the sun too long and overheat. And if they have to stay outside, make sure they have access to a cool, shaded area.

    Cindy Campbell, Townsquare Media
  • 3

    Watch For Signs Of Dehydration

    Symptoms of overheating include excessive panting or heavy breathing, increased heart and respiratory rate, drooling, mild weakness, stupor, or even collapse. Your pet may also experience seizures, bloody diarrhea, and vomit, along with an elevated body temperature over 104 degrees. If your pet is experiencing these types of symptoms, a trip to the vet is in order.

    Cindy Campbell, Townsquare Media
  • 4

    Don't Leave Pets In A Car

    I always hate the sad looks I get from Pernicus and Lola when I leave the house and they can't come with me. But it's for their own good on warm days. It doesn't even have to be that hot for the interior of a car to become dangerous. If you don't believe me, shut yourself in the car on a 75 degree day and stay there, with the windows cracked, for 10 minutes. Wow!

    Cindy Campbell, Townsquare Media
  • 5

    Trim But Don't Shave Your Pet's Hair

    It's so tough to look at some animals, dogs especially, who have heavy, thick coats on a hot day. I mean, you wouldn't wear a fur coat when it's 80 degrees out! But that coat is their best defense against sunburn. So, it's okay to trim your pet's hair in the summer, but don't shave it. Leave enough hair to protect their skin. And, if you're going to use sunscreen on them, make sure it's safe for pets.

    Bigandt_Photography, ThinkStock
  • 6

    Don't Walk Dogs On Hot Pavement

    If you know what it feels like to walk barefoot on a hot road, then you can imagine how it feels on the pads of your dog's paws. When you take your four-legged friend for their walk, encourage them to walk on the grass, instead of the pavement. And plan your trip down the road for early morning or dusk, when the blacktop will be cooler.

    Cindy Campbell, Townsquare Media
  • 7

    Schedule a Trip To The Vet

    Now is the time, if you haven't already, to get your pet a check-up. The doctor can make sure they're protected against heartworm, and set them up with medication for fleas and ticks. And program your vet's phone number into your phone so, if your pet should start showing signs of distress, you can contact them immediately.

    Remember, a healthy pet is a happy pet!

    Comstock, ThinkStock