Keep pets comfortable in warm weather

* Watch for hot feet. A person who has walked barefoot across hot pavement knows just how painful it can be. Although the pads of dogs' feet are thicker than human skin, they are sensitive as well. Too much walking across hot surfaces can burn the pads. Check regularly for redness and gauge your pet's comfort level while walking. If he is limping or showing distress, it's time to cut the walk short.

* Prickly foes. Seeds from foxtails and other grasses tend to be barbed and sticky. Cats and dogs may inhale these seeds or have them lodge in their paws and coats. If a pet seems to be under duress after being outdoors, grass lawns and burrs could be the culprit. Seek assistance from a veterinarian.


* Keep it cool. Don't turn off the air conditioning simply because you won't be home. If it's incredibly hot indoors, pets will become uncomfortable. Keep a ventilation source available, such as an open window, turned-on ceiling fan or leave the A/C set to low.

* Leave water out. An indoor water bowl is a necessity, too. Check before leaving the house that there is plenty of water available to all pets.

* Offer comfort. Summertime often comes with loud thunderstorms, motorcycles passing by or fireworks. These loud noises can startle pets. Routinely check on animals to be sure they aren't frightened or doing damage to the house from being scared. If you will be out, have a neighbor check on the pet. A radio left on or a television can help mask the summer sounds and soothe a scared pet.

* Groom the pet. Talk with a groomer to decide on a cut that's comfortable for the pet. While many people assume shaving off all fur is the best option, fur actually insulates an animal. Removing it all can put the pet at risk for sunburn.

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