Keep your pets cool in the summer heat

(NBC) - Humans are having a hard time in this summer heat, so imagine if you were wearing a fur coat!

NBC's Dawn Timmeney took a trip to the zoo to find out how to keep your pets cool in the heat.

"Any time there's excessive cold or heart, we are always more wary," said Zoo Curator, Dave Wood. "The keepers are out there all the time all day long. We do more frequent checks and make sure water is changed and cool."

At the zoo, the otters are treated to icepops filled with fish, the bison stand under a cool spray and the macaw enjoy a nice, cool misting.

There is particular concern for the zoo's older residents.

"Many years ago, heat like this wouldn't bother them, now that they are older, just like checking on your elderly neighbor and all, we keep a closer eye on elderly animals," said Wood.

Many of the steps they take at the zoo go for your pets at home as well. The idea is to keep them comfortable.

Veterinarian Dr. Scott Gellman says walks should be limited, even if your pouch is itching to go.

"They have a lot of trouble breathing and the heat can really get to them quickly and before you know it, they have a problem," said Gellman.

And never leave your pet in the car when it's this hot, even with the windows cracked.

"A cracked window in a car, temperature goes up about 40-degrees in an hour-it's really life threatening," Gellman says.

Some more tips that will help you keep your pets cool are giving your dog a lightweight summer haircut, which can prevent overheating.

Brushing cats more often than usual can keep out the heat.

And if you're using sunscreen on your pets, make sure the label specifically says it's for animals.