The hot weather is here, so it's time to start thinking about how to protect your pets, and make sure they're happy and healthy!

Temperatures on Thursday are supposed to get into the 80s, so we have to change the way we deal with our pets. They may not always like our decisions, but it's more important to keep them safe than to give in when they want to go for rides or stay outside too long.

I've compiled a list of 10 Commandments of keeping pets safe in hot weather, but if you can think of any I missed, feel free to comment here or on our Facebook page.

  • 1

    Thou Shalt Use Flea and Tick Meds

    Ticks have been really bad already this year, so we can only imagine what flea season is going to be like! Whether you get your medication from the vet or buy it over the counter, it's important to treat your dogs for potential outbreaks. Don't wait until they're already infested.

    Junko Kimura, ThinkStock
  • 2

    Thou Shalt Get Pets Vaccinated Against Lyme

    Take it from someone who lost a dog last year to Lyme Disease, the Lyme vaccine is a good idea. While it isn't 100% effective, it's your best defense, in addition to the medications referred to in the last Commandment. And, if your pet does contract Lyme, at least you won't be left with the sinking feeling that maybe you could have done more to prevent it.

    xiao-ling, ThinkStock
  • 3

    Thou Shalt Check For Ticks

    Both methods listed above are great for battling ticks and Lyme disease but, ultimately, the best defense is the hands-on approach. Check your pets daily for ticks and remove any you find, safely and effectively. A tick doesn't inject the bacteria as soon as it bites, so the sooner you find them, the better the chances that your pet won't get sick.

    Stringer, Getty Images
  • 4

    Thou Shalt Vaccinate For Rabies

    A skunk in Oxford has tested positive for rabies, which is a good reminder that it's time to make sure your pet is up-to-date on his/her rabies vaccinations. It will protect both of you since one of the leading causes of rabies in humans is through interaction with infected pets. Wild animals are out and about, looking for food, and chances are your pet may cross their path at some point!

    Photon-Photos, ThinkStock
  • 5

    Thou Shalt Keep Them Cool

    Heat can be dangerous for dogs, so be sure to protect them when they're home. Keep them inside the house as much as you can on very sunny days, in a cool room. When they're outside, provide them with some shade to get out of the sun. And pay attention to how long they've been outside. Like with kids, sometimes pet parents need to say 'it's time to come inside!'

    Cindy Campbell, Townsquare Media
  • 6

    Thou Shalt Leave Them At Home

    On warm days, a car can be deadly for pets, even if the windows are cracked. And it doesn't have to be hot outside for the temperature inside the car to reach dangerous levels. If you question how true that is, shut yourself in the car with the windows cracked and try to sit there for 10 minutes. If you can't stand it, then your pets certainly can't! Your pup may not like being left behind but, on warm days, it's for their own good.

    kyrien, ThinkStock
  • 7

    Thou Shalt Provide Plenty Of Water

    Always make sure your pet has plenty of water available, and that's especially true in warm weather. It's a good idea to put out water for your pets when they're in the yard, but make sure it's in a safe place, where they're not apt to knock it over. And place it in a shady spot, so the water doesn't heat up in the sun.

    Ian Forsyth, Getty Images
  • 8

    Thou Shalt Walk Early Or Late

    Everyone loves a good walk on a summer day. But, for pets, hot pavement can be painful. So consider taking the dog for a walk early in the morning and/or during twilight hours, when the sun is going down and the pavement has had a chance to cool. If the road or driveway still seems a little too warm, walking along the edge of the pavement, so the dog can walk on the grass would solve the problem.

    Stephanie Deissner, ThinkStock
  • 9

    Thou Shalt Have Cool Treats

    Dogs don't sweat but cool themselves off by panting. So it's important, on very hot days, to help them cool off inside and out. The dachshund I grew up with loved licking ice cubes. But these days, there are all sorts of ideas for cool doggy treats. Check out Modern Dog Magazine's website for some great ideas, including banana pops. Pinterest is another great source for doggy treat ideas that you can make at home.

    Cindy Campbell, Townsquare Media
  • 10

    Thou Shalt Keep Vet's Number Close

    Warm weather means more time spent outside, so keep your veterinarian's phone number in your cell phone. You never know when you might need to call for advice, whether it's a hornet sting while on a walk, signs of heat stroke, or a conflict with another dog. Having that number already programmed into the phone will save you valuable time.

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