Don't let the hound overheat

Dog owners need to take some precautions to keep their pets safe during the dog days of summer. The American Kennel Club offers tips:

When out and about

Make sure your dog has access to fresh water. Bring a collapsible bowl to refill at water fountains. Freeze a bottle of water or bring ice cubes in a Tupperware container on long outings.

Walk your dog on the grass or dirt, where it is cooler. Asphalt can get hot enough to burn the pads of dogs' paws.

Never leave your dog in a vehicle. When it's only 80 degrees outside, a car can heat to over 120 degrees in just minutes. Leaving your windows open does little to prevent heat buildup.

Never tie a dog outside a store while you run errands. If you can't bring your dog into the store, it's best to leave him home.

Avoid strenuous exercise on extremely hot days. Take walks in the early morning or evening.

Dos and don'ts

Many products can give your dog relief, including cooling vests, fans that clip onto your dog's crate and mats that cool to 20 degrees below room temperature.

Create your own chill zone. Keep your dog cool by placing a wet towel on a concrete or tile floor in front of a fan or air conditioner.

Don't trim or shave your dog's fur. A dog's coat helps regulate body temperature and protects from sunburn.

Heat exhaustion 101

Symptoms of heat exhaustion or stroke include: excessive panting, disorientation and obvious paleness or graying to the gums due to a lack of oxygen. If you feel your dog is suffering from heat exhaustion or heat stroke, act immediately by submerging her in cool water (not ice cold) or by placing ice packs on her neck. Once the dog has been stabilized, get her to a vet.

See more tips at the American Kennel Club Web site: www.akc.org.