Dog wearing spectacles picture "I'm chillin'." α, Flickr

With temperatures in the triple digits in many parts of the country, pet owners need to be extra vigilant about keeping their animals cool.

Dogs are much more prone than people to develop heatstroke, because they are only able to sweat through their foot pads and can cool off only by panting. Even the healthiest of dogs can succumb to heat-related illnesses if pushed too hard or left in a confined space. Dogs with medical problems are even more vulnerable.

Help keep your pooch safe with these tips from the Humane Society of the United States, and veterinarian Ira Roth, director of the Community Practice Clinic at the University of Georgia College of Veterinary Medicine.

Protecting Your Dog From the Heat
Here are three things to keep in mind during these intense summer days:

Limit time outside. During extreme temperatures, it's a good idea for everyone -- man and beast -- to be inside if they can. But short-nosed dog breeds who naturally have more trouble breathing -- such as Boston terriers, pugs, English bulldogs, or boxers -- should be kept in air-conditioned rooms as much as possible. The same goes for dogs with renal or cardiac failure, or other health disorders, says Roth. If you can't keep your dog inside, make sure it has ready access to fresh water and shade, like in a dog house.

Reduce physical activity. Keep exercise short with just a walk in the early morning or evening hours. Taking your dog out to "do his business," or letting him walk with you to the mailbox in the middle of the day is probably fine. But it's easy to overexert a dog without realizing it, Roth says.

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