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6 summer safety tips to keep your dog happy and healthy all season long

Vladimir is a regular contributor to PetMD, the largest global source of pet health information. PetMD's content is created by veterinary professionals and covers 9 different species.

Summer doesn't have to be dangerous for pets — here's how to keep them safe without skimping on fun

We hear the same advice every summer — don't leave your dog in the car. Yes, that is completely solid advice, but with the tragic news of 14 dogs dying inside a hot car this week, it is important to remember that even leaving dogs in a car with the AC on can be deadly.

Dog handler, Cortney Corral, left her show dogs in her parked truck in an Indiana hotel parking lot on Friday. She ran an extension cord from the truck to an outlet on the outside of the hotel so that she could keep the AC running while she took a nap in her hotel room.

When Corral returned to the truck, she returned to a horrific scene. The 14 show dogs had all died while she was inside the hotel. Officers on the scene determined that a circuit breaker had tripped, causing the AC to turn off.

The investigation into the incident determined that it was a horrible accident, but that no criminal charges would be filed against Corral.

Unfortunately, hot cars are not the only dangers that pets face in the summer months. Dogs react differently than humans do to a day spent outdoors in the heat. Understanding the basics of summertime doggie care and knowing what warning signs to watch out for — can help to keep your furry bestie safe and comfortable this summer.

1. Start with 'slip, slop, slap'

As the Australian mantra is known to all Down Under, it means slip on a shirt, slop on some sunscreen and slap on a hat. This technique can be applied to your dog as well, especially if he's of a short-haired variety. Dress your dog in a shirt, put sunscreen on his ears and nose, and if you can't get him to put on a hat, keep him in the shade to help prevent cases of sunburn in your pup.

More: Leaving your pet outside during the summer should be considered abuse

2. Watch out for heat stroke

A dog panting in the afternoon heat isn't necessarily a good thing. Some of the most common signs of heat stroke and hyperthermia (elevated body temperature) include excessive panting and drooling, increased body temperature, reddened tongue and gums, lethargy, low urine production and rapid heart rate. Make a mental note to bring extra water for your pup anywhere you go and keep a water bowl stocked in your beach or pool bag, too. Since dogs are not able to cool off as efficiently as people by sweating, heat stroke on a warm summer day is a major risk. Staying hydrated can help a dog maintain their metabolism and lower temperature, though an indoor break may be needed after a hot afternoon of exercise at the park.

3. Stick with dog parks

Dogs love to run and play on grassy areas. But make sure you keep your pup in the designated "doggy areas," because fertilizers may be used in non-dog areas, which are harmful to your pooch. A safe bet is taking Fido to your favorite dog park (check out the PetMD Finder for parks in your area). Remember, not all grass is created equal.

Next Up: Never, ever leave a dog in a hot car

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