HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- You may prepare your family for the extreme summer heat with water bottles and cool clothes, but what about your furry friends?
ABC13 is helping you prepare for the extreme summer heat with tips, research and expert advice on everything from sunscreen myths to hydrating foods -- including pet safety.
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Cats and dogs respond differently to heat than humans. They don't cool off as easily because they sweat primarily through their feet. That means they can overheat quickly, especially in a vehicle.
"People will occasionally think, 'Well, I'm just going in the store to pick up one thing, and I'll leave them in the car.' Or they'll crack the window, thinking that's going to keep them from getting in trouble. Half an hour is more than enough time to get in serious trouble," said Dr. Barry Kellogg, VMD with the National Humane Society.
Experts say the first cool rule when it comes to pets is: Never, under any circumstances or for any amount of time, leave an animal in a car.
It's also important to pay attention to your pet when out in the sun. A general rule is that if it's hot for you, they're feeling it too. Be careful of hot pavement, and remember they need to stay hydrated.
There's an easy way to know if your pet is feeling the heat, according to Dr. Kellogg. Just grab their ear!
"You know how mom used to put her hand on your forehead to see whether you had a fever or not? Just grab a dog's ear," Dr. Kellogg said. "Do it when they're normal and in the house so you know what the normal feels like, and if they start to get overheated, boy, that ear gets hot to the touch."
Dr. Kellogg says the best way to cool your pet down quickly is to douse them with cold water -- either with a hose or by tossing them right in the bathtub.
He said there's one common misconception for dogs with a lot of hair. If you have a dog with long and heavy hair, don't shave them, Dr. Kellogg said. The layers protect them from overheating and sunburn.
For cats, Dr. Kellogg said brushing them more often can prevent problems caused by excessive heat.
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