ORANGE PARK, Fla. -

A local veterinary clinic is offering tips to protect pets from high temperatures.

When people start sweating the moment they step outdoors, it's an important clue to know that furry friends are feeling the heat, too.

Clay Humane, an Orange Park-based veterinary clinic, is reminding pet owners to protect their pets from heat exhaustion or death from the summer's high temperatures.

"Dogs and cats can't sweat to cool their bodies, so it's often harder for them to lower their body temperatures in extreme heat," said Senior Staff Veterinarian at Clay Humane Dr. Christian Broadhurst.

Broadhurst told News4Jax that there are ways to keep pets safe during the summer heat. There are a few simple precautions pet owners can keep their pets safe from the dangers.

Dr. Broadhurst offers five tips:

  1. Never leave pets in a hot car: Just as we've seen children suffer and at times succumb to extreme temperatures when left unattended inside a car, animals face the same fate -- especially during the summer months.
  2. Limit exercise on hot days: Walk pets in the early morning or evening hours when it's cooler outside. Also, remember to put pet-safe sunscreen on your animals' ears and areas with light or white fur to protect from the sun. Walk pets on the grass as asphalt heats up quickly and can burn paws.
  3. Provide ample shade: Use a tarp or other shade that allows for airflow to protect your pets from the sun, but don't use a doghouse. Air doesn't flow freely inside doghouses. Like cars, doghouses can heat to extreme temperatures quickly.
  4. Give your pets a lot of water: Ensure your animals have plenty of fresh, cold water on hot days. Try adding ice on especially hot days.
  5. Watch for signs of heat stroke: Take your pet to the vet if the animal is panting heavily, has glazed eyes, has difficulty breathing or is lethargic. Other signs of heat distress include excessive thirst, dizziness, vomiting and/or unconsciousness.

The team at Clay Humane also said it's important to contact a veterinarian immediately if pets experience any symptoms of overheating. Overheated animals can suffer from a variety of medical issues, including dehydration, heat stroke, organ damage, respiratory distress, seizures or even death.