NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Spring and summer can seem like the perfect time for your pets to enjoy the great outdoors, but just like with people, it’s important that your pet stays safe while outside having fun in the sun.

Veterinarian Benjamin Davidson said he’s constantly reminding pet owners of outdoor hazards they might not be aware of, like dogs being at risk of getting a sunburn.

“Particularly for dogs who have sort of pink areas, so we recommend for people don’t go out between the hours of 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. because that’s sort of the peak time for UV radiation,” he said. “There are sunblocks that you can apply to pets, just make sure that it’s a pet friendly sunblock.”

The summer sun also generates a lot of heat, which poses another danger.

“During the summer, we do see a lot of heatstroke,” Davidson said. “If you need to go outside, stay in the shade. Also make sure they have plenty of access to fresh water.”

In addition, the ASPCA says pets owners should never leave animals unattended in a parked vehicle.

“Parked cars, even with windows open, become very hot in a short amount of time, and this can lead to heatstroke or death,” said Dr. Louise Murray, vice president of the ASPCA Animal Hospital.

Vets say pet owners should also be aware about what your pet eats. Some foods and plants can be harmful for your pets.

The ASPCA says dogs and cats should avoid foods like raisins, grapes, onions, chocolate and products with the sweetener xylitol, since these are poisonous to pets.

Traffic can also pose a major hazard for dogs, so make sure if they are off the leash, that they’re fenced in securely.

Experts also say teaching your pet basic commands like “leave it,” “drop it” or “stay” can be particularly helpful in keeping them away from hazards.

For more summer safety tips from the ASPCA, visit

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