ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — Summer is just getting started, and with more of us — and our pets — spending time outside it’s important not only to be aware of our own limitations in the heat, but those of our furry friends as well.

News 8 sat down with an animal health expert to discuss what you need to know about how to keep your pets safe while having fun outside this season. 

Knowing the signs of heat exhaustion in your pets is just one of the ways you can keep your furry friend safe while keeping cool in the hot sun this season.

Senior Program Manager at Camp Bow Wow, Erin Askeland explains these signs of heat exhaustion as excessive panting or salivation, unsteady balance or even full-on collapse. This means they need to be cooled down as soon as possible. If you notice these signs in your dog, it’s important to take them into their local vet or animal hospital while cooling them on transit.

“The easiest way to cool them down is wet towels,” Askeland said. “You don’t wanna use ice, ice is just too extreme for that. You just want to use cool water on a towel, and stick that in areas where the skin is exposed — so a lot of times, that skin will be on the underside of their leg. For some dogs it might be a little bit of their belly.”

When it comes to heat safety and prevention, dogs can also be vulnerable to the sun’s rays just like you and me. This is especially true if they’re younger or older, if they have lighter skin, or if they have pink coloring on their nose and under their eyes.

Do dogs need to wear sunscreen?

Yes. Believe it or not, it is recommended to slather up dogs that have thin coats or exposed skin. However, not just any old sunscreen is appropriate for your pooch. Make sure it’s nontoxic, and specifically designed for dogs.

Just because it’s made for kids doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s safe for your pet!

You can typically find sunscreen that’s safe for dogs at your local pet stores or check online. Alternatives to using sunscreen on your dog include a rash guard or UPV protective vest, jacket or shirt that’s rated for sun protection.

Dog owners who set up pools for their pets should be monitoring them at all times and cleaning out the pool regularly, as stagnant water can be a breeding ground for bacteria.

Depending on the depth of the water, life vests may be a good investment. They allow dogs to take breaks, should the dog be unable to self-regulate when it’s time to get out of the water.

“Dogs should not really drink that pool water — chlorinated or even the saltwater pools,” Askeland warns. “It’s gonna cause upset tummies quite often. It’s not really good for them, so make sure that you have freshwater easily accessible to them.”

Cooling vests and bandanas are also helpful tricks to cool down your pet while out on a walk. These can be put in a refrigerator or freezer, and popped on your pet when needed! Just make sure you’re getting a known and established brand such as Kurgo or Ruffwear.

This advice is just one of the many easy ways to keep your pets safe while having fun in the sun this summer.