Help your furry, four-legged friends beat the heat

SPOKANE, Wash. - People can cope with the heat by using air conditioners, cans and drinking ice-cold beverages. Our furry friends however, have a harder time staying cool.

Try wrapping yourself in a fur coat a walk outside in this heat wave. If you aren't comfortable, think about your dog or cat.

At Hot Dogz Grooming and Spa, owner Silvano Bitencourt says he gets a rush of pet owners every summer looking to shave their furry friends.

"The important [thing] is to make your dog feel comfortable and don't embarrass it," Bitencourt said.

Keep cats cool during summer

While some dogs and cats revel in the new haircut, others get a bit embarrassed showing off their skin. But the 12-year veteran of the grooming business says there are many benefits to giving your cat or dog a shave during the summer months.

"If you shave your cat, if you shave your pet, dog or cat, they are going to be more fresh and comfortable," Bitencourt said.

It's an idea endorsed by doctor Carrie Forster of The Cat's Meow. They only groom cats that need sedation for the process, but can recommend a groomer for the calmer felines.

"We enjoy giving the lion cut," Forster said.

The "Lion's Cut" is a full body shave, but groomers leave the mane, booties on the feet and a "poof" at the end of the tail. Basically, your animal will leave looking like a lion.

Forster has other ideas to keep your cat or dog cool, including keeping their water dish cold.

"Even just the use of a fan helps a lot, just circulating the air," Forster said. "Frozen gallon jugs of water near their beds can help them cool down."

Veterinarians also warn that dogs and cats can get heat stroke easily. Signs include excessive panting, drooling and blue gums. It's a very serious condition and Forster suggests getting your pet in a cool location immediately, misting it with water and calling a doctor. Ice baths can be dangerous and should only be done by a professional.

As ridiculous (and cute) as a shaved cat and dog can look, your pets will thank you for the buzz cut. And onlookers will thank you for a good laugh.