ROCKFORD, Ill. (WTVO) — Heat safety goes beyond children’s health, as pets can be subject to heat stroke too.

As Heat Advisories have been issued in some counties for Wednesday, veterinarians say leaving pets in cars on hot days can be very dangerous.

“If you wouldn’t leave your baby in the car, I wouldn’t leave your pet in the car,” said pet owner, Kayla Seaberg. “The temperatures rise the same way. It’s just unsafe for them.”

Seaberg says she makes sure her three pets stay cool.

“They do like to be outside, but we have to restrict their time to make sure they don’t get sick or exhausted,” she said.

Auburn Animal Clinic veterinarian, Dr. Patricia Holm, says leaving pets in cars at this time of year can kill them.

“It doesn’t take very long. It can be minutes. If it’s in the 90’s, you’re looking at 120 degrees or more in a locked, closed vehicle,” she said.

It’s important to be vigilant and observe your dog’s behavior.

“If they are panting and looking very stressed and continuing to pant, and not able to calm down, you can touch their body, touch their gums, their mouth, their tongue. If it feels drier and it feels warm, then they’re probably starting into heat stroke,” Dr. Holm said.

A dog having a heat stroke should be taken to the vet immediately.

“Start cooling the head, [with] cool water running over the head, cool rags on the head. Get them to drink if they’re able to drink. But, don’t douse their whole body with cool water, because you can throw them in to shock,” she added.

As for Seaberg, she’s been taking shorter walks in the morning and evening, and says her dogs enjoy having a small pool land eating dog ice cream to feel refreshed.

“One of our dogs really likes to go on walks, but I’m always checking the pavement temperatures with my hand, or when we walk we take short walks around the neighborhood,” she said. “If it’s too hot for you, it’s probably too hot for them. And, it also give you a chance to be with them and keep an eye on them and see if they’re showing signs of distress.”

A dog’s paw pads can easily burn from the heat of a hot pavement. Holm says if you can’t touch pavement for seven seconds, it’s too hot for your dog. The American Kennel Club has offered advice on the subject.


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