HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) — June 21st marks the first day of summer, and with highs expected to break 100 degrees in portions of North Alabama, one vet warns having too much fun in the sun with your pet could be dangerous.

Walking the dog is part of a daily routine for many pet owners, but Dr. Wesley Clendinen with South Huntsville Veterinary Hospital said as the temperatures rise, so should the amount of attention a pet owner pays to their regular walking path.

“Touching that pavement, making sure it’s not too hot to the touch will help prevent serious second, third degree burns at times,” Dr. Clendinen said.

He said that even when walking early in the morning or late in the afternoon, it’s important to still check the roads and sidewalks.

“Just always check it with your hand like you would check bath water for a baby,” he said.

Burns can take a minimum of 24 hours to show, and if a pet’s paw pads burn, it can be a bad scenario, causing them to limp and need medical attention.

Being out in the yard for hours during the summer heat and humidity can also put a pet’s health at risk.

“Dogs and cats particularly, they can’t sweat. the only places they can cool themselves is through the bases of their paws and also through their mouth, so it’s very hard for them to cool off when it’s this hot,” he said.

When they can’t cool down, they overheat.

“It’s exceptionally common. I’ve almost let my pet overheat in the past,” he said. “Know the signs of heat stress and potentially heat stroke. The earliest signs are uncontrolled panting, trembling and weakness.”

If they do have a heat stroke or can’t cool down after being brought into the A/C:

“Get them to a vet as soon as possible. In that process, you can start cooling them down by spraying alcohol on their footpads or putting ice packs on their belly. Don’t put them in an ice bath though because you can cool them too quickly.”

Being aware and careful are the two biggest ways to prevent skin burns too. Like humans, pets can also get skin cancer.

“Have limited times and spurts of activity outside. If their skin is becoming pink or they’re getting really hot, just bring them inside,” he said.

Items like sunscreen can help prevent a burn, but you can’t use any old sunblock on an animal.

“Make sure that it’s labeled for dogs and cats, and not using human sunscreen because it can be toxic,” Dr. Clendinen said.

Access to cool, fresh water and shade at all times are the single most important way to prevent your pet from getting hurt this summer.