published Monday, May 28th, 2012

Even dogs get sunburns: Tip to keep pets cool


Pete, an 18-month-old Irish setter, cools off at a dog park in Little Rock, Ark.
Pete, an 18-month-old Irish setter, cools off at a dog park in Little Rock, Ark.

The National Association of Professional Pet Sitters, a nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting the welfare of animals, encourages pet parents to prepare to help their pets stay cool in hot weather.

Because summer heat can be potentially dangerous to pets, it's the owners' duty to follow proper care guidelines.

"Pets are just as sensitive to the heat and sun as humans," said John D'Ariano, NAPPS president. "It's important to consider your pets comfort and safety at all times and be sure there is plenty of water and shade to keep him cool."

NAPPS urges pet parents to consider the following tips to help keep pets safe under the summer sun.

• Apply sunscreen to light-skinned and light-furred dogs. Although their fur helps provide protection, areas around their mouth and ears are susceptible to sunburn.

• Provide your pet with fresh, clean water -- regardless of the weather.

• Make sure your pet has plenty of shade for cooling down.

• Don't keep your pet outside for extended periods of time.

• Familiarize yourself with the warning signs of an overheated pet. They include heavy panting, difficulty breathing, drooling and weakness.

• Never leave your animal alone in a parked car, even if it's just for a few minutes. Cars heat up quickly and can cause your pet to overheat, resulting in death.

• Cut your furry friend's thick hair, but be sure to leave enough for protecting his skin from the sun's harmful rays

• During extreme heat, avoid walking your pet on concrete or asphalt. The hot ground can burn the animal's sensitive paw pads.

• Beware of insect bites. Your pet might have an allergic reaction to a sting or bite and will need to have the wound properly treated to maintain good health.

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