Finally! Summer is here and you and your furry friend can enjoy frolicking in the outdoors. Unfortunately, if you live in the two-thirds of the U.S. that is experiencing record heat and drought, being outside may pose some health risks to you and your pets. Here are 4 animal care tips for the hot weather months from the pet specialists at


1. Prevent overheating

Dogs and cats lack the ability to sweat and instead regulate their temperature through their respiratory tract (panting) and skin. As a result, it’s much harder for them to adjust to hot temperatures. What may be tolerable for you may be excruciating for them. Old, overweight, sick, or juvenile animals are even more challenged, as are those with breathing problems. Overheating may trigger inflammatory problems such as arthritis that require pain relief for dogs. Simply be conscious of the environment and adjust it to your pet’s needs.
One animal care rule: Never leave an animal in a hot car, even if the windows are cracked. The temperature in these greenhouses can rise dramatically over an hour in any weather and you may be gone longer than you planned.


2. Shade and Sunscreen

Despite their furry coats, pets can get sunburned just like humans. Pets with light skin or thin fur are the most at risk. Keeping your pet in the shade is a good way to avoid burning and overheating. Otherwise, you can buy special sunscreen to apply to their nose, ears, and other exposed areas. Use only FDA approved animal care sunscreen. Human sunscreen often contains salicylates and zinc oxide which are toxic to pets when ingested.


3. Proper grooming

Include proper grooming in your summer animal care routine. Healthy fur and skin promote the circulation of air and better temperature regulation. You may want to include omega fatty acids (from fish or flax oil) in your pet’s diet. Omega 3 and 9 fatty acids have an anti-inflammatory effect on the skin and also benefit the joints, nerves, and cardiovascular organs.


4. Exercise and hydration

Schedule a check-up with your vet to make sure your friend is in good condition for summer exercise or needs special animal care. Try to restrict outdoor activity to the morning, evening and night when temperatures are cooler. When out with your pet make sure he gets breaks for shade, rest and water every 15 minutes.  Stop for breaks even if he seems excited and high energy.