With summer temperatures not cooling down, learning how to take care of your pets or livestock in hot weather has never been more important.

As much as your companions love to be outside and enjoy their fur in the sun, hot weather can be dangerous, uncomfortable and sometimes deadly for animals.

To keep your pets from overheating on those hot summer days, Tommy Bell, director of the New Bern Animal Service Center, shared some helpful tips for keeping your pets safe and healthy:

Never leave your pet in an automobile

“Absolutely no animals were left in the automobile,” Bell said. “If you’re not in there, they’re not in there.”

This is perhaps one of the most common causes for harming your pet in the heat, according to The Humane Society website. The Humane Society advises not to leave your pet in the car for even a minute. The temperature in a car can go from 85 degrees to 120 degrees in just 30 minutes.

“Because you’re going to realize with the glass windows, it amplifies the heat,” Bell said.

Leaving the windows cracked, the car running, or the air conditioner on is not an example of proper care with rising temperatures. Not only is it harmful to pets, it’s also illegal to leave your pet alone in the car in most states.

Lots of shade and water is a must

“They need to have shade, shelter and fresh water available at all times,” Bell said. “If they could, a swimming pool helps a lot as long as there is shade to keep it cool.”

Some dogs can’t help but stay outside because that’s where they live 24/7. If so, providing water at all times and in areas out of direct sunlight can go a long way in providing cooler temperatures for your companions.

A dog house does not provide heat relief, according to the Humane Society. This can actually make things worse for animals. Providing shade with a tarp and trees is ideal as they don’t block the air flow.

Watch for signs of heat exhaustion

Some signs of heat exhaustion are intense panting, glassy eyes, rapid heartbeat, difficulty breathing, excessive thirst, lethargy, fever, dizziness, lack of coordination, profuse salivation, vomiting, a dark red or purple tongue, seizures and loss of consciousness, according to The Humanitarian Society.

“With heat exhaustion, if this happens, they need to see a vet,” Bell said. “Normally, if you don’t seek vet care, they will die of heat exhaustion. Basically, it’s like cooking them because dogs don’t sweat.

Bell said animals used to being indoors can become heat exhausted quite quickly, so don’t leave them out of water, shade or shelter for too long.

According to The Humane Society, animals that are very old, very young, overweight, unconditioned for prolonged exercise, or suffering from heart or respiratory disease are at a higher risk of heat exhaustion. Some dog breeds like boxers, pugs, shih tzus, and other shortnose dogs and cats will have a much harder time breathing in extreme heat.

Consult your local veterinarian for emergencies

Bell said if you don’t seek help from a local vet, in extreme circumstances such as heat stroke, exhaustion, etc., hot weather can be fatal for your furious friend.

Before going to the vet, move your pet to a cool, air-conditioned area if he is suffering from any of the symptoms listed above. Apply ice packs or cold towels to your head, neck or chest and run cool (not cold) water over them, according to The Humane Society. Give them water or ice cubes, then immediately take them to the veterinary clinic.

“There is always the possible risk of a dog being out in the heat like a human,” Bell said. “You don’t know how well hydrated they are, which is why it’s important to have plenty of fresh water for them.”

For more tips on how to take care of your pet in the summer visit www.humanesociety.org

As always, in an emergency, contact your local veterinary clinic if you feel an animal is in danger.