Scorching summer days often discourage pet-owners from keeping up with their routine exercises. Since dogs and cats have permanent fur-coats, it can seem cruel to take them out for a cardio work out, when they might get overheated or dehydrated. Here are some of the best ways to keep your animals’ health intact and his temperatures low, where the heat wave rolls in.

1. Add ice cubes:  An immediate cool-off tactic is to throw a handful of ice cubes in your pet’s water bowl. This will help keep their water chilled for hours. (For extra flavor –try freezing beef or chicken broth in ice cube molds as well! They will love the added flavor.)

2. Hydrate with electrolyte-high liquids:  On hot days, some dog owners treat their pets to water brands like Smart Water or electrolyte enhanced products instead of the regular h2o from the tap.  Both cats and dogs need their exercise in every season, no matter how hot or cold the weather might be.  Bring bottled water for you and your pet wherever you go.

3. Set up a pool:  Some kiddie pools are made of tough vinyl and plastic that can withstand scratching paws and puppy nails. Set up a dog pool in the back yard and fill it with 3-4 inches of water so your pet can splash around when the heat is overwhelming. (Ice cubes added to the mix will help the water temperature stay fresh.)

4. Old-fashioned hose-down:  Keep a garden hose handy so when your pet looks overheated you can give him a quick spray or two. Better yet- hook up a small sprinkler device and watch the dog engaged with the reverse rainfall. (But be prepared for muddy paws, if you go this route.)

5. Cooling Collars:  Similar to the calming collar, cooling collars clasp around a dog or cats neck with long-lasting, chilled beads to combat climbing temperatures.  This is a great way to reach pressure points and keep a pet’s body heat moderated.

6. Get creative with the cool-down tools:  Set up a fan near your pet’s bed. Keep a spray bottle with you, and give your pet a little splash every once in a while. Make sure you spritz their paws and underbelly (which are the best places to keep them cool) and wipe their faces with chilled cloths. If you are outside, get a towel wet with cold water and lay it in the shade where your pet can rest.

7. Make some shade:  Build a dog house, or plant a tree in the backyard if there is insufficient shade. One of the most important things in the summer is to provide a sheltered area outside where a pet can find respite from the sun. Bear in mind, enclosed dog houses or huts can actually trap heat and be hazardous, so having a roofed-over area with a cross breeze is best.

8. Keep your pets indoors: Even if your pet tends to prefer the outdoors, it might be safer to keep them inside on certain high-temperature days. Bringing them inside may be the best way to protect them from the heat (among other things). Why let all that air conditioning go to waste? Your pet will most likely be thankful for the rescue!

9. Go for a swim instead of a walk! If your routine walk or hike is unwise in the unbearable heat, perhaps it is time to work with the weather rather than against it. Don’t go running, go swimming! Find a place that offers hydrotherapy and see if the pool is open for public hours. High-end recreation centers sometimes have swimming areas where dogs can swim for exercise; you might be able to play hours of fetch while your dog swims for the ball.

10. Plan your outings around water:  Many mountainous areas have trails that follow streams or even lead to pools or waterfalls. Instead of taking your dog to his favorite park, plan your outings by bodies of water. Take a walk or a picnic to a nearby lake, walk to a pond, go for a beach run, or hike on a path laced with waterfalls. Working out with your pet will be extra rewarding when near a water destination, offering a cool-off point. Be smart about when you exercise your pet, choosing the early morning or late evening to avoid the hot sun.

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