The warmth will be harmful — even lethal — for canines and cats

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As the temperature rises, it’s time to freshen up your options for protecting your four-legged family members during the long, hot summer season.

HOUSTON – It’s not even officially summer yet, but Houston’s heat and humidity feel like it.

At what feels like temperatures in the three-digit range, the combination can be downright dangerous for humans and animals.

Here are 11 essential summer pet safety tips:

1. Never leave your pet in the car. In warm weather, the interior of your car can reach 120 degrees in minutes. Even in the shade or with cracked windows, pets can suffer from heat exhaustion, heat stroke, brain damage, and even death.

RELATED: Summer Survival Guide: What To Do If You Get Heat Exhaustion or Heat Stroke?

2. Do not leave pets alone outdoors in this heat. Cats and dogs cannot sweat like humans, so it will be more difficult for them to cool off.

3. Vets say if your dog is panting heavily or drooling excessively, he may be overheating and you should take him inside to cool off.

4. Signs of heat stroke include glassy eyes, rapid pulse, unsteadiness, swaying, vomiting, or a deep red or purple tongue.

5. Dogs showing signs of heat exhaustion or heat stroke should be taken indoors or in a shady area. Pour cool (not cold) water over your body. Encourage them to drink small amounts of water and / or lick ice cubes. Take them to a veterinarian as soon as possible.

RELATED: How Houstonians Can Get a Free Portable Air Conditioner To Keep Cool This Summer

6. Keep older dogs, short-nosed dogs, and those with thicker, darker coats indoors as much as possible, advises Rene Vasquez, director of Fort Bend County Animal Services.

7. Walk dogs early and late and try to keep them in the grass whenever possible. The sidewalk could be hot enough to blister your pet’s feet.

8. Pets can also get sunburn and skin cancer, especially if they have light noses and light fur on their ears, according to BARC in Houston.

9. Putting your pet on the back of a pickup truck can be very dangerous, according to the Humane Society. A dog can be thrown into traffic if the driver brakes, swerves or is involved in an accident. The bed of a pickup truck can also get very hot in the summer months.

10. Some dogs love to swim, but make sure they are trained to get out on their own. Make sure your pet is supervised in swimming pools.

11. There are more than 700 plants that can be poisonous or poisonous to pets, according to the Humane Society. Some of them are abundant in the Houston area, including oleanders, sago palms, and lilies.

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