Keeping your four-legged friends safe from the summer heat

(WDTV) - When it comes to our pets, it's important to remember that they rely on us for everything—including helping them stay cool in the summer.

Dog plays outside in in the hot sun.

Always remember to provide your animals with enough shade if they are outside and keep them hydrated.

"Making sure they have access to water at all times, especially in this heat, is important," said Dr. Jessica Anderson, a veterinarian at the North Central West Virginia Veterinary Emergency Clinic.

Dr. Anderson stressed the importance of keeping dogs off of hot blacktop because it can burn the pads on their paws.

Another thing to remember: never, under any circumstances, leave your pet in a hot car. According to the Humane Society of the United States, on an eighty degree day, a car can reach one hundred degrees in just ten minutes (even with the windows rolled down).

Dr. Anderson also told us some ways to tell if your furry friend is over heating.

"Excessive panting, or if they get really red or their color changes. If they're not able to stand or move around," said Anderson. "But panting is going to be the big thing. Becoming lethargic and not being able to arouse them."

Anderson said that if you happen to see an animal locked in a hot car, in a yard without shelter from the sun, or chained up without water— call 911 immediately.

"Call the authorities," Anderson said. "They will send someone to get the animal out of that environment."