Summer is the perfect time to review your pet preparedness plan and to ensure that your favorite companion is safe during the hot weather. Remember that dogs don’t sweat like humans: They release excess heat through their paws and by panting. Panting is their primary means to cool down.

Even the healthiest pets can suffer from dehydration, heat stroke and sunburn if overexposed to the heat. Heat stroke can be fatal if not treated promptly.

Take these simple precautions to help prevent your pet from overheating. And if you suspect your pet is suffering from heat stroke, get help from your veterinarian immediately.

— Pets can get dehydrated quickly. Be sure they have plenty of fresh, clean water.

— Never leave your animals alone in a parked vehicle.

— Do not leave pets unsupervised around a pool.

— Give your dog a summer trim to help prevent overheating.

— Don’t leave your dog on or near hot asphalt when the temperatures rise.

Because pets are an important part of many families, they should be included in your family emergency planning.

Have a designated location to take your pet during an emergency. Listen to emergency notifications for instructions and for pet shelter locations. Whenever possible, Red Cross shelters will include a pet care area.

Dogs and cats should wear a collar or harness, and identification tag at all times. ID tags should include your name, address and phone number, and the phone number of an emergency contact. Dogs must also wear a license and rabies tags.

Have the following items ready for an emergency evacuation:

— Pet food and water

— Food and water dishes

— Medications

— Collapsible cage or carrier

— Muzzle and sturdy leash

— Comforting toys or treats

— Litter, litter pan, litter scoop

— Plastic bags for clean-up

Don’t forget to include livestock in your plans.

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