As the temperature climbs from now through August, we will experience the dog days of summer – – and – – for our furry friends – – they will try to survive the heat.

It is critical to remember – dogs do not sweat. They pant, rapidly, to try and keep cool.

A hot dog in the summer

For the most part, though, they need shade, lots and lots of water, and careful attention to be sure they do not overheat.

Black dogs, especially, have a tough time – – the color of their coat causes them to get hot more quickly.

And, if they happen to have a short snout – like bulldogs or French bulldogs – – it’s almost impossible for them to tolerate much heat at all.

Of course, it goes without saying that your dogs should not ever, in any circumstance, be left in your car unless the air conditioning is running and you’re sitting in the car with them.

No – they can’t tolerate the heat if the windows are rolled up and it is really warm outside.

For those dogs who ride in the back of pickups – or are tethered on a flat bed truck – – my heart goes out to all of them.

They’re hot, there’s no shade, and they have no water.

While there’s no law against animals riding in the back of pick-ups or flatbed trucks – – – it’s an accident waiting to happen. And the loser is  always the dog.

Somewhere between the overly protective dog owners who consider FiFi not only a member of the family, but a preferred member – – and owners who look at dogs as disposable companions – – the rest of us try to figure out how to ensure dogs have a good quality of life.

One of the best four-legged friends you’ll ever have is a dog.

But that friend needs to know you will provide the best possible care – – they will never have to worry about water, food, safe place to sleep and someone who understands the importance of staying cool in the summer.