Every summer the Humane Society of the United States releases its recommendations for keeping pets safe and comfortable during the oppressive "dog days" of summer.

I thought it would be helpful to summarize these ideas so that our four-legged friends are protected from the heat.

Whether you are taking a pet for a walk, driving or just hanging out in the backyard, there are extra precautions that animal lovers can take to keep their pets safe when the temperature rises.

I typically take my pack of five rescue dogs on a short walk during midday, when temperatures peak and longer walks in the morning and evening when it is cooler. Beware of hot sidewalks that can burn the pads on a dog's paws. Walk on the grass whenever possible.

If you are going shopping with your dog, never leave him unattended in a car on a hot day.

Cars quickly heat up to a dangerous temperature, even with the window slightly open.

The summer is the peak season for dog bites because so many kids and dogs are playing outside. Training, socialization and dog spaying or neutering a dog can reduce the risk of dog bites.

Never leave a dog outdoors unattended on a chain or tether. Long-term chaining during the hot summer months can result in countless insect bites, dehydration and heat stroke.

Cats should be kept indoors to protect them from fleas and ticks as well as from wild animals. There are some wonderful cat trees available that will make a cat happy and content to stay inside.

Many gardeners use cocoa mulch, pesticides, fertilizers and other harsh chemicals that can be deadly if ingested. Unfortunately, these products often have an appetizing scent that attracts some animals.

I hope you find these recommendations helpful.

If you want to know more about the important work of the Humane Society of the United States, I urge you to purchase a copy of the best-selling book "The Bond: Our Kinship with Animals, Our Call to Defend Them," by Wayne Pacelle, the President/CEO of HSUS. It is an extraordinary account of how we need to help animals, who have no voice, and learn how to better share the earth with them.

New Canaan resident Cathy Kangas is a member of the Humane Society of the United States' National Council. As the owner of PRAI, an international cosmetic corporation, she started Beauty with a Cause, and commits a percentage of her company's profits to help animal welfare organizations around the world.

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