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    Summer can mean lots of fun outside with your dog. But when the temps soar, take steps to protect your pet. Whether you take him for a walk down the street, a ride in the car, or just out in the yard to play, the heat can be hard on him. Here's how to keep your furry best friend safe.

    Never leave your dog in the car. No, not even if you think you’ll only be a few minutes. Even when it isn’t that hot outside, the temp can soar inside a closed car. On an 85-degree day, it can reach 102 F within 10 minutes. And that's with a window cracked. After 30 minutes, it could be up to 120. Leave your dog at home, or go places where he can come with you.

    Keep your house cool. If Fido’s home alone, make sure he can truly chill. Leave the air conditioner on and close the drapes. If you don't have AC, open the windows and turn on a fan. You may want to try a cooling vest or mat to see if they help.

    Watch when you exercise. Limit when and how much you do when it's hot and humid. Take walks in the cooler part of the day, in the early morning and evening hours. Carry water, too -- enough for both of you.

    Check the pavement. Before you head out for a walk, touch the pavement. If it's too hot for your hand, it's too hot for your dog's paw pads. Walk on the grass and stay off the asphalt. You also might want to try booties for your dog so his paws don’t burn.

    Offer plenty of water and shade. Don't leave your pooch alone outside for long. And when he is there, make sure he has shade and lots of fresh, cool water. Add ice cubes when you can. Trees are better than doghouses for shade. They let air flow through. Doghouses can trap the heat and make it worse. Think about a kiddie pool or a sprinkler to help your pal cool off in the yard.

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