Happy Pride, Dallas Voice readers! Welcome back to my monthly Woof column and to the amazing month of June. I am sure we are all very excited for not only the Pride festivities, but also for the potential positive change that awareness can bring to our community.

Now this also means that summer has arrived, bringing with it the peachy heat that Texas is known for. So in this column, I want to focus on how to care for your pets during these hot months.

As we all know, Texas summers are brutal, and our pets feel it even more intensely than we do. Imagine wearing a jacket and walking barefoot on hot pavement — that is how it feels for them.

To keep your pets safe, avoid walking them during peak heat hours. Instead, take them out early in the morning or late in the evening and test the ground with your hand or foot to ensure it is not too hot. Pet booties are an option too, though your furry kiddos might need time to adjust to them (Make sure to take videos of this process, lol).

Cooling off in a pool or lake can be a fantastic way to beat the heat, especially if your pet enjoys the water. Consider using pet-friendly sunscreen, especially for light-colored or short-haired animals. You can also use baby sunscreen, but be cautious of products with ingestion warnings.

Focus on applying it to areas like the nose, paws, ears and belly — so pretty much the areas with little to no hair. Reapply as needed, just as you would for yourself.

I truly think this one should be common sense, but we need to mention it: Never, ever leave your pet in a car without air conditioning, not even for a moment! Cars can heat up dangerously quickly.

Also, please make sure your kiddos have access to fresh water at all times, particularly during the hot summer months.

The Fourth of July is a highlight of summer for our country, but it can be terrifying for pets due to fireworks. Consider having a white noise machine or the TV on. Also consider keeping your kiddo in a room away from the outside walls.

To manage their fears, you can also consider trying products like the ThunderShirt, Zylkene supplement, Adaptil for dogs or Feliway for cats. If you have tried these and they do not work, please ask your veterinarian ahead of time about a possible prescription to help your pet cope.

Summer is also a time for social gatherings, often including our furry family members. Make sure your pets are up-to-date with their annual exams and vaccinations, which should be tailored to their specific lifestyle needs. Year-round flea, tick and heartworm prevention is crucial, especially here in Texas.

If you see your kiddo panting excessively, please make sure to retire your pet from hot areas and offer water right away. If you were to see that your kiddo has excessive salivation or bright red gums or if they are lethargic or collapses, please go to a veterinary emergency hospital right away as these could be signs associated with heat stroke which is very dangerous.

I hope that these tips will help you provide the best care for your pets this summer, and please feel free to consult your veterinarian to develop a personalized care plan. If you do not have a veterinarian, you can contact my team at Isla Vet in Addison, and we will gladly help you.

I am wishing everyone an amazing and life-changing Pride Month. Remember to set the best example that you can while ALWAYS standing up for yourself and those around you. We need to strive to be a stronger community every day, and we need to celebrate who we are. Happy Pride and abrazos for everyone!

Dr. Josh owns Isla Veterinary Boutique Hospital, 14380 Marsh Lane, Ste. 110 in Addison. Call him at 972-738-1111 or visit IslaVet.com.