POSTED: Monday, June 17, 2013 - 5:27pm
UPDATED: Wednesday, June 19, 2013 - 8:39am
Tyler, TX (KETK) — The first official day of summer is Friday, and though it's already been hot for weeks in East Texas, we've got plenty more where that came from.
Make sure you don't forget about keeping your pets safe from the heat, too.
Local veterinarians say even though it may seem like we hear the dangers of leaving pets in hot cars every year, people continue to do it, and unfortunately accidents continue to happen.
"It happens every year, and it's just so tragic because it's so easily prevented," said Corrie Stout, a dog owner and veterinary technician.
During the summer months, Stout is always on high alert.
"I can tell if she gets overheated, and she'll go lie down in dirt and do a lot of panting," Stout said. "So I know it's time for her to go inside when I see that."
Vets say pets can be very susceptible to heat exhaustion, some breeds more than others.
"Short-faced dogs, like bulldogs, can't cool their bodies as quickly," said Dr. Laura Cauthen of Animal Medical Center of Tyler.
Dr. Cauthen says unless you leave the car running and lock the door, don't risk leaving your pup in the car, even if just for a few minutes.
Even at 75 degrees, inside a car, it can heat up to about 100 degrees in 10 minutes, she said.
If your pet is left outside all day, make sure he/she has plenty of shade and lots of water.
"There needs to be a place where they can lie and cool off and not be in direct sunlight," Dr. Cauthen said.
" ... Our success in treating heat exhaustion is really dependent on how quickly we catch it," Dr. Cauthen said. "But many times, if it's advanced, it's too late."
Signs of heat exhaustion are panting, unable to catch a breath, tiredness, restlessness, dizziness, vomiting and diarrhea.
If you start seeing some of those signs, try and cool your animal off by immersing it in water or pouring cool water on the animal.
You can also put ice packs on their head.
Dogs can get sunburned too.
If your dog doesn't have a lot of fur in some areas, you may want to think about doggy sunscreen.
Human sunscreen is not recommended.