ROCKFORD, Ill. (WTVO) — Humans are not the only ones who should stay out of the heat this week, as pets also need protection from oppressive temperatures.

Animals like dogs can not sweat like humans, which is why they pant, and their fur coats makes it harder for them to cool down. Hydration is key in extreme, hot weather.

“Aside from the dehydration and the potential heat stroke, you can get hot spots,” said Brian Geise, a veterinary assistant at Animal Clinic of Rockford.

Geise is a former Boone County Animal Service field officer, and he said that taking care of pets in the heat is critical.

“We’re wearing shoes,” Geise said. “We don’t really think about it that much, but if your animal is walking out on those hard services when it’s this hot out, you need to be really mindful and keep them on the grass, or if they will put up, you can do the little booties, but something to keep them from burning their feet on the pavement or sand.”

Those that are thinking of taking their pet on a walk or hike should be mindful of their paws, and to make sure and bring the same amount of snacks and water for their furry friends as they would for themselves. Vets advise to keep pets hydrated, to limit exercise and to watch out for things like excessive panting, discolored gums and mobility problems in the extreme heat.

“This kind of weather, I wouldn’t recommend leaving them out more than 10 to 20 minutes tops because again, they can dehydrate very quickly,” Geise said. “Sometimes, you might put them out on a lead and you have to make sure they have tree cover.”

Cars function like a green house, according to Geise, sometimes getting 40 to 50 degrees hotter inside than it is outside. This can happen even after only a few minutes of sitting in the parking lot.

“And if the heat is really severe like it is this week, I would just advise don’t put the animal in the car unless you absolutely have to take them somewhere, don’t leave then unattended in a vehicle at all if you can,” Geise said. “Treat it like a infant child.”

Those that see a dog locked in a vehicle should check to see if the windows are cracked open or if the air conditioner is on. They should try to find the owner, or contact their local animal services department, non-emergency police or sheriff’s department.

Leave it to the professionals if a pet is in distress.