(DOGS/PET CARE) Summer days can be fun for pets and humans alike. The sun is shining, the sky is clear, and the park has never looked more inviting. But just as children and even adults can be negatively affected by excessive heat, animals are susceptible to those same dangers.

Here are six tips to keep your beloved pet happy and healthy during this heat wave and throughout the summer season.

Photo Credit: PetMD.com

1. No parking, please

Never leave your pet in a parked car. It doesn’t matter if you’re getting milk or just picking up a prescription. As with babies, leaving an animal in the car is extremely dangerous and even fatal. Leaving a living creature in a metal box with lots of windows results in something called the greenhouse effect, which will make the inside of your car much hotter than it is outside. To keep your pet safe, either shop at a pet friendly store or leave him home with the air conditioner running.

2. Bath time

Summer days usually make the best beach days. While it’s not always convenient or safe to bring your dog to the beach (unless you have plenty of fresh water), it’s sometimes nice to cool down in other ways. You can let your doggie into the pool if he’s a skilled swimmer and you make sure he’s not drinking chlorinated water. Just remember to rinse off any salt or chlorine. A better idea, however, is a nice romp in a clean kiddie pool around noon.

3. Get a trim

A good haircut usually solves life’s problems, and it can definitely help your pet keep cool this summer. Give your dog’s fur a nice cut, leaving it about an inch long. Make sure not to trim all the way down to his skin, as this will leave your pet without protection from the sun. Keeping your cat or dog brushed, well-groomed, and free of any excess fur will do wonders for his or her summer.

Photo Credit: Instagram/pennidog

4. Exercise intelligently

While exercise is important for both pets and their caretakers, it’s usually best when kept to the early hours of the morning and later in the night. This keeps your pets healthy as well as cool. Never force your pet to go for a walk in the heat, especially on asphalt where he can burn his paws, unprotected by sneakers or flip-flops, and always make sure to provide plenty of water before, during, and after a run.

5. Beat the heat, stay inside

It may be a tad inconvenient to drag a bigger, wilder dog inside for the afternoon, but animals are more sensitive to heat than people. Too much sun can be extremely dangerous. So if the day’s turning out to be uncomfortably hot, do your pet a favor and bring him inside. He’ll thank you for it.

6. Maintain your cool

It’s hard to stay cool with the sun beating down your brow or muzzle. Keep your pets cool by making sure they have a shady place to stay at all times throughout the day. A nice, well-ventilated dog house is a great start. A grassy area, free of treatments and pesticides, is also ideal for puppy lounging. Finally, and most importantly, is to keep your dog well-watered. Make sure that your beloved animal has access to fresh, clean, and cool water at all times. If it’s extra hot, consider stocking your pet’s water bowl with ice cubes. He’ll be living the high life and staying cool all summer long thanks to you.

— Bianca Caraza, exclusive to Global Animal